As a school district, we continue to monitor local health conditions on a daily basis. Our regular meetings with health partners, including Health Officials at Lewis & Clark Public Health, continue to yield important insights into how this pandemic is impacting our local community.
At this time, we remain in Phase I across our Helena Public Schools with campuses utilizing the independent, A and B cohort model. Health Officials continue to cite that our schools are not a source for virus transmission within or across our community as, thus far, masking and distancing have kept per-case incidences and contacts (and related quarantines) comparatively low. However, we are engaging in COVID-related challenges on a daily basis. Most notably, conditions within our community continue to impact our ability to ensure appropriate and adequate staffing. While, to date, this has not caused the closure of a particular school, we have been close on multiple occasions.
The Helena Public Schools commit to continue our daily efforts to keep our schools safe, healthy, and sustainable. We implore our Helena community to assist in this regard by personally committing to actions and behaviors that have been scientifically proven to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With a positivity rate approaching 25%, Lewis & Clark County is in excess of twice the rate for widespread community infection. While we are immensely proud of the careful, preventative actions taken by our students, employees and families, we need the assistance of our entire community to ensure that our schools can remain sustainably open. Your personal commitment to aiding us in this regard is sincerely valued and appreciated as community health requires a steadfast community commitment.
For information pertaining to our schools and this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please continue to utilize our district website. For confirmed cases associated with HSD students and employees, please view our webpage dedicated to that specific information – https://helenaschools.org/covid-19-cases-in-our-schools/. For general updates including weekly updates related to health data, inputs and the status of our schools, please see our COVID-19 District Updates page at https://helenaschools.org/remote-learning/family-updates/.
Together, we have the power to slow the spread of this virus and protect our loved ones and neighbors. Healthcare leaders remain confident in vaccine developments but before those options become available, we must commit to preventative actions in every regard to ensure the safest possible winter for our Helena community.