Superintendent Update | February 25, 2021

Superintendent's Update | February 25, 2021
Posted on 02/25/2021

February 25, 2021

Dear Fife Public Schools community and staff,

As you may have heard today, we had a staff member at Discovery Primary School inform us late last night that they had tested positive for COVID-19.  Because of the late notice last night and in consulting with Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) early this morning, we made the decision to close Discovery for in person learning and convert all students to remote learning.

This gave us time today to make sure we followed TPCHD guidance with regards to contract tracing and investigation. While the staff member was on campus on Tuesday, it has been determined today that contact with other staff was very minimal and contact with students doesn’t warrant any isolation or quarantine of students. Additionally, the staff member did not contract COVID-19 at school and we are working with the few staff members who were in contact with this person.  As of tonight, the staff member who tested positive will not return to Discovery for 10 days which is the guidance we are following.

Additionally and out of an abundance of caution, we have also made the decision to close Discovery for in person learning tomorrow, February 26th, as well. All students will participate in classes remotely tomorrow like they did today. This will allow us to conclude our investigation and follow the Department of Health’s cleaning and sanitation protocols. 

In the future, it is our hope that with sufficient notification, we will be able to contact trace/investigate and clean without the necessary steps of closing in person learning.  This is a case by case decision. Because this was our first incident with students in the building and the unique variable of the late night notice, we acted cautiously and made sure we followed all previously planned protocols. The silver lining is we are proud of the system and we believe at this time we avoided an “outbreak” scenario.

Additionally, I want to let you know that schedules at all other schools remain the same at this point in time. Likewise, our plan to return 8th-12th graders at this time remains the same. Students at Discovery will return to the building on March 2nd which is the same day Columbia Junior High and Fife High School start their transitions to hybrid/in person learning.

As a reminder, we have created a web page titled “Reopening Central'' where we keep the last information regarding hybrid learning and data regarding COVID-19 cases in the district.  The data portion is updated every Friday.  The other information contained within is updated as needed.

I thank you for your understanding and support. Despite this hiccup, we remain committed to creating a safe learning environment for students and staff and are excited to bring our secondary students back next week.

If there is a silver lining, the discovery that our systems and protocols worked as designed reassured us that we can do this and do it well! Our response to this notification followed protocols exactly how they were designed and they led us to quick and effective actions.  My hat goes off to all the staff who assisted in the communication and investigation today at Discovery.

Be well,

Kevin

Kevin Alfano
Superintendent
Fife Public Schools

 

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