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IMPORTANT COVID-RELATED UPDATES


Dear Parents,

This is a special edition of the district’s monthly newsletter to provide you with some updated information about how the district is responding to changing COVID transmission in the community and guidance from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. We are continuously monitoring the weekly data released by both the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. Our Governing Board approved guidance that requires three weeks of consecutive data meeting a health benchmark threshold before shifting to a more restrictive delivery model. The intent is to minimize the disruptions to student learning with constantly changing data. If the data is consistently at a threshold, it will trigger a change. The data released today shows our local area has a COVID case count in the substantial threshold. The data also shows the percent positivity at the moderate threshold. Because this is the first week of a three-week watch on data for both of these benchmarks at a higher threshold, we will continue to monitor the data for two more weeks. In the mean time, our district threshold, according to board-approved benchmarks, continues to be at the minimal level for traditional delivery.

Within the first weeks returning to in-person learning, we experienced at least one positive COVID case at each of our schools. We responded quickly with contact tracing and quarantined a number of students and staff to prevent further spread. 

As time has gone by in this pandemic, we have all become weary of “staying at home.” I encourage you to renew your commitment to limit your family’s exposure in your neighborhood, parks, and community. Your help is needed to reduce the spread of the disease and maintain our ability to offer in-person learning opportunities. For those of you who are growing more concerned as you watch the level of COVID spread increase, please know that the district is also watching the data closely. We will continue our commitment to communicate with you about all cases in the schools, and we will take action to shift to safer delivery models in the event data worsens based on our Governing Board criteria.

Thank you for your diligence in monitoring your child’s symptoms and reducing opportunities for exposure in the community. We will stay in close communication with you about any potential changes. You remain our best partner in your child’s education and wellness.


 


 

Lori Shough, Ed.D.
Superintendent


 



COVID-19 Communication


Since we began in-person learning, we have followed a transparent communication practice. After Maricopa County Department of Public Health investigates and confirms a positive case, the school gathers additional information, identifies any potential close contacts, and prepares communication for staff and the community. Communication is published to the following groups for each positive COVID case:

 

• Anyone who is identified as a "close contact" is sent a notification that they have been within six feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period or had physical contact with a person with COVID-19. Liberty Elementary School District takes a conservative approach to exposure by quarantining all students in the class, not just those students who sit within six feet. If anyone is required to quarantine as a result of being in close contact, their notification will include a return date. A negative COVID-19 test will not allow an individual to return earlier than specified. 


• All parents in the school are sent a notification that there is a confirmed positive COVID case in the school.


• All staff in the school are sent a notification that there is a confirmed positive COVID case in the school.

 

• If a teacher must be quarantined due to exposure, the parents of the class are sent a notification that the class will shift to virtual delivery during the time the teacher is quarantined. This does not mean that the students in the class were exposed.

 



COVID Data Dashboard


A new COVID-19 data dashboard on the district website provides a transparent summary of both active positive test COVID-19 cases and exposure to COVID-19 cases, both resulting in exclusion from school activities until the isolation/quarantine period and guidelines have been met. Once an individual has completed the isolation period, and is symptom free, he/she is no longer considered an active case and is removed from the dashboard data. In the last two weeks for active cases, there were four positive cases in schools (two were from the same household). Click here to see the current data dashboard.*

* Disclaimer: The COVID-19 data dashboard on the district website is updated every Friday. Information is based on what is shared with the district and can be verified with MCDPH at that time. Data in the table below is current as of 11/10, 5:00 PM. Liberty Elementary School District is not liable for lack of COVID-19 information we have not received or been able to verify.
 




Outbreak Determined for Liberty Elementary School


Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has recently changed its guidance to place the responsibility to call for an outbreak on local districts. The Liberty Elementary School District will take a conservative and cautious approach to strictly follow the criteria set forth by MCDPH.

On November 6th, MCDPH agreed that Liberty Elementary School should be quarantined due to an outbreak due to exposures at multiple grades on buses and two or more unrelated positive cases within the 14 days. Liberty School had three unrelated positive cases within 14 days that counted toward an outbreak. The school will provide virtual delivery through November 20th. MCDPH defines a school community as an outbreak if two or more positive cases unrelated by home, sports team, youth group, etc. within 14 days. MCDPH may only require a grade-level to be quarantine if there is not significant cross-contamination among grade levels.

We will monitor the positive cases at each school closely. The COVID data at the local school is evaluated to determine the need for an immediate individual school closure for two weeks and a shift to virtual intermittent delivery, regardless of the district’s overall health benchmark level.

 




Traditional Delivery Continues
Until at Least December 3rd

District-wide, all schools (except for Liberty Elementary and Liberty Online School) will continue with traditional delivery for in-person learning. This past week, the most recent published school benchmark data showed an increase in COVID spread. However, until the district COVID spread data shows consecutive weeks at the higher level, the overall benchmark threshold is unchanged. At this time, two of three of the LESD Health Benchmarks are at the Minimal threshold based on the MCDPH data.

We will continue to monitor the data closely and inform parents early if there is potential for a change in delivery models, based on reaching a new threshold. Click
here for more information on the district criteria for health benchmarks approved by the Governing Board.


 




LESD Athletics on Hold
 

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) has pushed back the start of winter sports until further notice. Due to AIA’s decision to postpone the start of winter sports, combined with additional District concerns to fill rosters and secure coaches, extra-curricular school athletics will not continue the second sports season.

We will continue to evaluate our capacity to resume the athletic program after the winter break.

 



COVID Symptoms Now Require 10-Day Isolation or Negative Test Result

 

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health recently updated its guidance regarding individuals showing COVID symptoms. If a student presents with COVID-like symptoms at school, parents will be asked to pick students up and then keep the child home isolated for 10 days or until a negative test result can be shared with the school nurse.

Please continue to
keep students home from school if they are showing symptoms or have recently been tested and you are awaiting test results. Your help is needed to reduce exposure to other students and staff.

 

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Liberty Elementary School District
19871 W. Fremont Road, Buckeye, AZ 85326

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