PLCS addresses COVID-19 in special Facebook Live event

The PLCS superintendent shares information regarding the cases of coronavirus and the district’s plans.

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Kat Paleogos, Staff Writer

On Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., the Papillion La Vista Community Schools leadership addressed our community in a Facebook Live online event. Superintendent Dr. Andrew Rikli shared a quick summary of the district’s COVID-19 case history and brought concerned members of the community up to speed on current events.

Since the start of the 2020-2021 school year, there have been 175 positive student cases in the district, making up 1.68% of the student body. While a majority of cases have been at the high school level, there is an upward trend of positive cases in elementary schools. For PLCS staff, there have been 82 positive cases, which is almost five percent of the school district’s staff members. As of right now, there are 27 active cases of the coronavirus in the district. Weekly updates of active cases are provided on the PLCS website each Friday.

In a typical year, PLCS has about a 98% attendance rate. In November, the percentage dipped to approximately 90%. As Dr. Rilki pointed out, this trend could be due to cooler temperatures, resulting in more indoor activities. With upcoming holidays, there is a good chance that these numbers will decrease even further.

Dr. Rikli also acknowledged current trends regarding the precautions, such as masks, social distancing and extra cleaning, being taken by schools in this district. He attributes the low case numbers to these precautions, while pointing out that there is correlation between community numbers and school district numbers stating that as community numbers rise, so do school numbers.

The presenters also addressed the process for handling positive cases, which was a concern for many parents in the community. The collaboration between the health department, which leads the contact tracing and communication about COVID-19 cases, and the school district was emphasized.

Dr. Rikli then directed his attention towards viewers of the live meeting. He wants families to stay diligent, follow health precautions, complete the daily screener, limit group gatherings, and wear their masks. The members of the district’s leadership team also took the time to answer spectator questions. A huge concern among parents was whether or not the district is likely to go remote. Dr. Rikli firmly stated that the criteria for this decision is not clear, and unlike many would assume, the level of risk is not the sole deciding factor on whether or not PLCS schools will close.

The superintendent then explained that he believes school is the safest place to be during this time. He believes that in-person learning is imperative to each student’s success. However, he also made it clear that there is a possibility of schools closing for a short period of time if needed.