Dear NPUSC Employees and Families,

This communication is follow up to the recently held August 24th NPUSC School Board Meeting.  At this meeting the NPUSC School Board of Trustees reviewed the latest COVID information in our community and region.  A report was also shared about the 50% Attendance Plan in NPUSC to this point.

At this meeting NPUSC decided to continue the 50% Attendance Plan until near the end of the 1st grading period, or October 9th.  NPUSC will review the situation in mid to late September and communicate our attendance plan beyond October 9th near the end of September.

The following rationale was identified for continuing on the 50% Attendance Plan through October 9th:

  • NPUSC has had two situations so far involving a student that tested positive for COVID-19 after being in attendance at school.  Due to the social distancing the 50% Attendance Plan allows and the NPUSC mask expectation, both situations in terms of close contact were contained to only a few students or one classroom.  Close contact, as defined by the CDC, was minimized due to the 50% Attendance Plan, which reduced exposure/spread to students and employees
  • The metrics previously published that are monitored weekly all point to the 50% Attendance Plan being our best option at this time to balance education with health/safety.  The seven day positive average case rate for LaPorte County has fluctuated between 4.5% and 5.17% on average, with the average increasing to 5.17% as of this announcement.  St. Joseph County’s seven day positive average case rate has fluctuated from 8% to 10%, with a recent average of just under 10%.  These seven day averages would ideally be under 5% consistently to consider 100% Attendance.  Also, NPUSC zip codes, in some instances, have continued to show positive cases above one percent of the population, which is a concern.  Some neighboring zip codes in St. Joseph County in which NPUSC has students have continued positive cases at 1% to 2.5% of the population
  • We have begun fall extra-curricular practice/competitions and are monitoring the impact of extra-curricular activities on student health/safety.  The 50% Attendance Plan provides a better chance than 100% Attendance to reduce the possibility of exposure to the virus as we monitor extra-curriculars
  • Six percent of NPUSC students have opted for the NPUSC Virtual Academy.  This is a much lower percentage than most area schools that are seeing anywhere from 20% to 40% of their student body opt for a virtual education.  NPUSC must consider that full attendance will involve 94% of our student body, while neighboring districts may have closer to 60% to 70% of their students in their schools at full attendance
  • There is still a lot we do not know about COVID-19 and its long term impact on anyone who contracts it, including youth that show few or no symptoms while having the virus.  The 50% Attendance Plan provides the best approach to mitigate or reduce the risk of spread while also seeing students in-person

The first nine week grading period ends Tuesday, October 13th.  At this time NPUSC is announcing the 50% Attendance Plan will continue through Friday, October 9th.  This plan will be monitored and re-evaluated throughout September.  NPUSC will communicate our attendance plan for beyond October 9th by the end of September.

Late start Wednesdays will not occur during 50% Attendance as NPUSC will conduct collaborative professional teacher meetings on Fridays prior to e-learning beginning for students.

Finally, NPUSC would like to thank families for the flexibility you have shown to honor our Mask Expectation and work with us during our 50% Attendance Plan.  We realize partial attendance puts additional burden on families.  We will continue to communicate as transparently as possible.  We have concluded at this time, based on the local and regional COVID situation, the 50% Attendance Plan is the best way to address educational needs and student health/safety.  Please contact my office if you have any questions, thank you.

Paul White

NPUSC Superintendent

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