To Our DPM Parents and Guardians:
Consistent with schools throughout Lake County, we are currently experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 at DPM, with 14 positive cases since November 1.
DPM Band Recap
During the course of contact tracing these specific cases, we have examined all student schedules and lunchroom seating to try and identify a common link that could explain such a high number in the same grade. The most consistent links between the students were (1) participation in band, (2) proximity to one another during band, (3) participation in small-group band lessons; and (4) sitting together during lunch.
In collaboration with the Lake County Health Department (LCHD), close contacts have been identified and they, along with individuals who have tested positive, are isolating at home. Given the number of positive cases and close contacts, the LCHD made a preliminary recommendation on Wednesday, November 17, that all students enrolled in 5th grade band remain home for the rest of the week to allow the LCHD to complete contact tracing. If you are contacted by the Health Department, we ask that you please provide the requested information as soon as possible. Parents are encouraged to look for symptoms and report any positive cases immediately.
All students who tested positive as well as close contacts should work closely with the school nurses to determine a return-to-school date. The date will differ based on the date your child tested positive. If your child was asked to remote learn on Thursday and Friday of this week, they may return to school on Monday, November 22, unless they become symptomatic. At this time, these students are not considered close contacts, so they (nor siblings) are not expected to quarantine.
We are taking additional precautions with all band classes, including (1) increasing physical distancing, (2) deep cleaning, and (3) offering free, voluntary COVID-19 testing.
Voluntary Free Weekly Testing
The District began offering free, voluntary, weekly, at-home RT-PCR testing in October 2021 for all staff, students, and family members through O'Hare Clinical Labs. Individuals can enroll at any time and are not expected to test every week. The CDC recommends that schools use ongoing screening testing for unvaccinated participants in sports, extracurricular activities, and other activities with elevated risk (e.g., singing, shouting, band, and exercise that could lead to increased exhalation). The CDC also recommends that schools should consider implementing screening testing of participants who are not fully vaccinated up to 24 hours before participating in sporting, competition, or extracurricular events. While the District is not mandating testing, we are making it easily available at no cost, and with no loss of instructional time to test.
Test kits are available for pick-up every Tuesday at each school and due back by Thursday morning to allow for lab processing. The tests are administered at home using a nasal swab procedure. Individuals are responsible for picking up their test kit and returning it to the appropriate location at each school. All participants opting to test must complete a consent form via a HIPAA certified link by Thursday of the week prior to testing.
Next week, test kits will need to be picked up on Monday, and returned by Tuesday at noon in order for results to be back before the holiday. If you wish to participate, you must complete the consent form no later than Friday at noon.
(2) Pick-up a test kit, along with instructions and labels, at the DPM-West Nurse's Office.
(3) Follow directions for collecting and securing the test sample.
(4) Affix the provided ID label to the outside of the bag. You will be provided with pre-printed labels.
(5) Return the completed test kit to the DPM-West Nurse’s Office by Thursday morning.
For the week of November 21, tests are due back by November 22 at noon.
(6) Submitted tests will be sent to O’Hare Labs for processing.
(7) Check for test results email within 24-48 hours. Most results have returned within 24 hours.
Working with Our Nurses
It has been brought to our attention that some individuals are contacting our school nurses to express their frustration. Dr. Montgomery has asked us to remind the community that our nurses are doing everything they can to serve our students while responding to instruction from the Lake County Health Department. All nurses deserve our gratitude and patience. Parents and guardians are asked to reach out directly with any concerns to building or District administration.
Please feel free to reach out with questions. Thank you for your continued partnership and patience.