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Supt. updates board on district's COVID stance

No change currently, despite rising county numbers

As of Monday, school is intended to continue as planned, with high COVID numbers in local counties, but not in the area itself. 

At Monday’s Grand Coulee Dam School District board meeting, Superintendent Paul Turner presented a document outlining the current COVID-19 pandemic situation in relation to the school.

Turner explained that although COVID numbers are currently high in local counties, in talking with county health officials, spikes are related to incidents outside of the Grand Coulee Dam area, such as in northern Okanogan County and due to the outbreak in Grant County residents who attended a wedding outside of Grant County in Ritzville. 

However, in talking with Grant County officials, “they are concerned of potential increases in the Coulee but stopped short of saying that it is currently happening,” the report reads. 

Currently, schools are recommended against operating in-person classes with a COVID incidence rate above 75 cases per 100,000 residents. Cases in local counties are well above that line, with Turner presenting data showing Grant and Douglas counties as being in the 600s, Lincoln in the 400s, and Okanogan and Ferry counties in the 200s. 

Turner’s document said that the state Department of Health is expected to increase the incidence matrix to define low as an incidence rate less that 75, and high as being above 200.

“Currently, Region 7 (Okanogan, Grant, Douglas, Chelan, Kittitas) counties have been working with schools to re-open in lieu of the state incidence matrix,” the report says. 

The report also says that in-person learning would continue past the week of the 30th when COVID cases are anticipated to spike again, and that Grant and Okanogan county officials said their position was for Lake Roosevelt to stay open past that time. 

The rationale for that, listed in the report, includes having “very good protocol that has filtered out potential exposures,” as well as saying “data shows schools are not high transmitters of COVID.”

“It will continue to be up to the community to keep our kids in school,” the report closes with. “If you are attending an event, follow the recommendations of the DOH. If you do have some sickness in the family, stay home and keep your kids home. The COULEE community has done a good job so far, keep it up!” 


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