To the parents of students in the Buhl School District,
Monday, September 21st marks the beginning of a new phase in the reopening of Buhl schools for the 2020-21 school year. All students will be in attendance for in-person instruction.
While hand sanitizing and regular cleaning and disinfecting of the classrooms and buildings will continue, it will be much harder to socially distance in the classrooms and common areas of our schools. Social distancing is one of the primary strategies for mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. Face coverings are the other.
To see the potential impact that social distancing and wearing masks have on the spread of the coronavirus, please refer to the pictures in the link here. These examples were created by Providence St. Joseph Health based in Portland, Oregon. The pictures show how certain activities (talking, coughing, sneezing) can spread respiratory droplets. The pictures demonstrate how bacteria can grow on agar plates after 24 hours for each activity. While viruses cannot be grown in a cultured medium (they must be grown in a living cell) the experiment does demonstrate the potential spread based on different conditions.
If we are not able to ensure social distancing in the buildings with all students present, it becomes increasingly more important for students and staff to wear face coverings for their own protection and the protection of others. Our current policy highly recommends face coverings, but we have seen only a small percentage of students abide by that recommendation. The Buhl Board of Trustees will discuss face coverings at their next meeting scheduled for Monday, September 21st.
As of this letter we have had 4 positive COVID-19 cases in the district leading to the quarantine of those infected, 6 of their siblings, and another 24 students who were exposed to the students who tested positive (they were within 6’ for more than 15 minutes). We are waiting for results from three pending tests. While the data from South Central Public Health for determining the risk level in Twin Falls County has indicated a favorable trend in the positivity rate and the average number of daily COVID-19 cases reported, there is still not a vaccine or other therapeutic available to mitigate the spread among unprotected people.
Please consider encouraging, if not requiring, your student to wear a mask to school on Monday, especially when we know that social distancing (staying 6’ from other people) will be difficult. The school staff is willing to provide guidance and support to keep everyone safe and keep our schools open.