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Black Elk Elementary closed for two week COVID-19 quarantine

Millard Public Schools reported Monday that 34 active cases have been confirmed at the elementary.
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 2:31 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Black Elk Elementary will remain closed for the next two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak, Millard’s superintendent said in a letter to families on Monday.

Millard Public Schools told families Sunday that school would be closed Monday after additional positive cases at the school prompted two more classrooms to close. Black Elk is the first school MPS has closed this year because of a COVID-19 breakout, an MPS spokeswoman said.

According to the letter from Superintendent Dr. Jim Sutfin, the school will be able to reopen Monday, Nov. 15, following a two-week quarantine. Meanwhile, students are set to begin remote-learning by Wednesday.

“Your teacher will be in touch with you shortly about schedules, schoolwork, and picking up items at school such as your student’s iPad,” the letter states. “...We fully understand none of this is easy. Our staff will have plenty of grace and understanding as we work through the process, but we know everything we can do to continue learning will be of value to students.”

MPS updated its count of confirmed active COVID-19 cases at Black Elk Elementary on Monday afternoon, adding nine more since Friday. According to the superintendent’s letter, the district updates cases on the website each weekday.

As of Monday, there were 34 confirmed cases, up from 25 reported on Friday and 18 on Thursday. In the week prior, when MPS reported 42 active cases district-wide, the school had less than four.

The outbreak was first reported last week, when Black Elk verified it had four classrooms closed. Following district policy, it was required to shut down a fifth and sixth classroom, amounting to 25% of the building and triggering the entire school to close in order to slow the spread of the virus.

The rush of COVID-19 cases did trigger a temporary mask requirement at the school that will last until Thanksgiving, district officials said last week. Dr. Sutfin said in his note Monday that the school had been sanitized each night and that the schools would undergo deep-cleaning during the quarantine period.

The Millard school board’s regular meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday at the Don Stroh Administration Center, 5606 S. 147th St.

Read the letter sent to families

Dear Black Elk Families,

I am writing to inform you that Black Elk Elementary will be closed for the next two weeks, reopening on Monday, November 15th. This is a two week quarantine time, starting from this past Friday.

During the time the building is closed, we will provide remote learning. Both Mrs. Rozeboom and your teacher will be in touch with you shortly about schedules, schoolwork and picking up items at school such as your student’s iPad.

Our goal is to start remote learning no later than Wednesday, November 3. We fully understand none of this is easy. Our staff will have plenty of grace and understanding as we work through the process, but we know everything we can do to continue learning will be of value to students.

The school currently has thirty-four active cases. We understand you may be interested in having your child tested. This can be done at your pediatrician’s office or at numerous places for free. For your convenience, here is a link to a list of testing locations:

https://www.douglascountyhealth.com/109-covid-19/773-where-to-get-tested

Please continue to report any positive cases to us. Just as we have throughout the pandemic, we will update the district website daily, Monday through Friday, with current numbers. If your child develops symptoms or tests positive, please call the school to work through a plan for your child’s absence and re-entry to school.

We have sanitized the school nightly during the week throughout the school year. While students are away, we will also be deep cleaning the building. Additionally, outside facility use will not be available in the building through Friday, November 12th.

Regards,

Dr. Jim Sutfin, superintendent of Millard Public Schools

Reporter Tara Campbell contributed to this story.

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