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School calls Monday a snow day, temporarily suspends in-person classes Tuesday


November 19, 2020

DAYTON–An emergency School Board meeting was held Monday evening, November 23, to determine classroom protocols in response to a local outbreak of COVID cases. The school district made a decision to go to remote learning on Tuesday, November 24, after Columbia County experienced a jump in positive COVID test, closing school Monday, November 23 using a snow day.

School officials will re-evaluate COVID conditions on Saturday, November 28, school directors determined.

Two Dayton students, one in the Elementary School and one in High School, were recently identified as COVID positive.

Public Health Administrator Martha Lanman reported the County currently has 16 positive tests, with an additional 26 pending. Of the 16 affirmed cases, eight are over age 60, four are between 30-60, two are 18-30 and two cases are children in the Dayton schools. Only four of the 16 are linked cases, and included one of the children in the school. The others are unrelated.

Lanman recommended, after speaking with the State Health Officer, school should remain closed the next day. The remainder of the week was already a scheduled break for Thanksgiving. The School Board could then meet at the end of the week to review the COVID situation and determine where to go from there, possibly opening for school Monday, November 30, if there are no further cases. Lanman said results from pending tests should come in over the next couple of days. The current contact tracing should be finished by then, too.

Superintendent Guy Strot agreed with Lanman’s recommendation to close for remote learning the next day saying the middle and high schools were already doing partial distance learning and that teachers were ready to go.

The discussion opened up to the Board and then the community. Board member Fred White proposed the next day could be given as an extra snow day instead of beginning distance learning. But Director Dave Bailey said he thought students should attend school remotely.

Strot said the state is not giving any extra days off for COVID and elementary teachers affirmed children already had work to do at home. Other teachers could get work the next morning to the kids.

One parent said “We have two secondary kids and they are ready for distance learning. The teachers have prepared them well. I would like to see distance learning for tomorrow.”

The Board voted 3-2 for school to resume remotely for following day, Tuesday, November 24, and to reconvene Saturday to review the situation with COVID and make decisions about moving forward.

Strot said parents can check Google Classroom or call the school regarding questions about classwork for their kids. In the meantime, the custodians at the schools are cleaning.

Parents will receive a letter from the school to notify those students in classrooms with positive COVID children.

Lanman said they would also notified by the next day, community members and parents of children who have come into direct contact with someone with a positive case. She reminded those present at the meeting that a direct contact is considered someone who is within six feet for more than 15 minutes.

Over 60 concern citizens and staff participated in the emergency meeting held Monday evening, November 23.


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