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Park City School District needs to provide Covid-19 numbers daily

I’ve generally felt that the Park City School District (PCSD) has done the best job they can of managing back-to-school in a Corona world. There are a lot of moving parts, people, directives, orders, and government organizations that are all interacting to dictate the path forward in our schools. It’s not perfect, but there has not been one day where I worried about sending my kids to elementary school.

Part of that is that the PCSD was providing daily updates on cases at each of our schools. As a parent, it gives you a feel for how it is going. Unfortunately, yesterday that stopped. It appears they have reverted to updating cases weekly. So, the next update comes this Friday.

That change comes at a bad time. Summit County Covid-19 numbers are jumping. We used to have a case or two per day — sometimes five. Now it seems we are way up. Eighteen yesterday. Twenty the day before. Ten the day before that. The trend ain’t our friend.

I only imagine that as we head into winter it will only become worse.

Not having daily numbers from the school district causes a few problems. First, parents have a right to know. I was talking with a friend last night about the change and his point was, “I need to know the situation so I can make the best decisions for my family.” Imagine that you are living in a multi-generational household, with children, parents, grandparents, etc. It would be helpful to know the risk at your child’s school. You could make a decision to keep your child in-person or shift them to the remote option to protect the grandparents and great-grandparents.

Second, in an absence of information, rumors flourish. For instance, I have heard members of local sports teams are going remote, so they aren’t subject to quarantine rules, so players can play. I’ve heard that the dates associated with the student being eligible for coming back to school have been “hidden” to mask the actual numbers so the school can remain in-person. Almost weekly, one of my kid reports on the number of children who aren’t in their class and say “they probably have Corona Virus.”

Is any of that true? I don’t know. However, I do know that in the absence of order there is disorder.

It’s not a failure if we need to go remote for a period. It is what it is. We are in a pandemic.

PCSD, do what you do. You teach. Teach the kids. Teach the parents. Provide information. It will be far better off from a public perspective if we inch up to 15 cases at a school, publish the stats, and we eventually close, versus coming out of the left field. If we are inching that way, then parents know they need to adjust work schedules for the inevitable. If you tell the parents the day before, then it severely impacts the community. What about their jobs? How does the family cope? The school district will be negatively impacting families.

PCSD, please publish the data you get daily, and then we are all in the same boat. We can figure it out together. I know many people who have come here recently don’t believe it, but this is still a small town that often waves to each other, smiles, and is friendly.

Of course, some people will complain. They always do. But the school district needs to do the right thing.

By publishing daily information on Covid-19 cases by school, parents, teachers, and other administrators can make decisions.

Park City School District, if you doubt that daily numbers are best, just imagine that during some random evening in November you get a call from the Summit County Health Department saying you are closed down. Imagine the backlash you are going to get with providing teachers and parents with 8 hours of notice that a school is remote. Imagine the impact to teachers trying to figure out what they will do remotely, tomorrow. Imagine the impact to families. It will be a sh*t show that takes away many days from education.

Instead, imagine that daily numbers are provided and people can prepare for the event as we near it. They see we are approaching the 15 student threshold and plan for the inevitable. It won’t be perfect but it is literally the best we can do.

In the long-run, being open and honest, will work out better for everyone.

Comments

9 Comments

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Walt

I agree, assuming that information can be carefully checked for accuracy and we don’t end up with constant revisions – which will cause even more stress and distrust.

PCSD should probably have fired their IT person a while ago, too. The website is a disgrace.

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Anonymous

What needs to be clearly defined is what is (and is NOT) considered an “active case”. I think that some people may be surprised by their definition.

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anonymous

Agree 100%. I have two children wrapping up a school based quarantine, due to return to school tomorrow. Yesterday, I received the form letter from the school that they had a classmate who tested positive. Lucky they were at home being quarantined! Would be nice to know how many active cases at their school before I send them back tomorrow to understand how this is trending. Agree we need a definition of “active”.

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Ann Onymous

PCSD needs to also report staff. We know that staff members (teachers) are out on quarantine, so presumably there could or have been positives among staff as well? Wasatch School District, who is moving to online for 2 weeks starting 10/12, lists similar numbers to PCSD in secondary (13 to our current 12), but they are also listing 12 staff members. Does anyone think we have no staff positives?

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Dr. Schweitzer

PCHS has been over the number already. The cases are not being correctly counted and as we have seen in other places, children are super spreaders. Go look at the state spreadsheet. Thomas Cooke is right in that transparency is key and we are unfortunately dealing with a microcosm of the failure of national leadership right here in ski town USA.

So sorry folks, but it is going to be a very long winter.

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Park City Schools

We have been and will be are updating our case counts more than once a week. Sometimes there is a delay in the posting of our confirmed cases because we have to go through the process of verification with the health department, contact tracing, notifying families etc. We most often update on Fridays, however, we are also updating as needed.

In regards to our numbers being different than the state numbers – that is because we are counting active cases differently. We are tracking active cases with a 14-day roll off (following the Utah State Health Dept School Manual). The state is counting with a 21-day roll off period. Please see a letter from Dr. Gildea (10/7/20) on our website clarifying the case count discrepancy: https://www.pcschools.us/

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Parkrag

Thanks for that clarification. I think people really appreciated it when it was possible to update daily. I hope that everything comes together to make that possible again.

Also, thanks for the information on the state numbers. The state numbers seem almost useless on coronavirus.utah.gov. Your presentation is much more useful and informative to Parkites. I think people were worried why the numbers differed. Your explanantion makes sense.

Thanks for everything you are doing.

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Park City Schools

Please check out our new COVID-19 dashboard, going live today and updated daily: https://www.healthattend.com/pcsd-dashboard?fbclid=IwAR2dOyp7RoSL_MroJFAFpIoXgkB7wKTq75IDbf3-VV93jbH_z9ixb7anezk

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Dr. Schweitzer

It’s nice to hear from PCSD, though I’m not sure why you are spending so much time on the local papers comment sections, and Facebook pages. I have received little if any official communications from the High School itself.

I’m a parent of a PCHS student who has been quarantined now two times over. For this information to be finally understood and complied by the district in October is unacceptable. Especially after the botched reopening and disputes with teachers over the summer. I am hearing all kinds of information about district leaders who do not fully understand how to count the cases, be it on sports teams, treasure kids who should be included because they are in the high school building, kids who have tested positive while in quarantine, teachers who have tested positive, or multiple cases amongst families.

I so appreciate the new dashboard and really we need all of the info to make the best decisions to protect our families. I and others are reasonably suspicious of the count for many of the reasons I have listed above as our state and county numbers skyrocket and schools around us shut down.


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