Donegal board votes to end COVID-19 contact tracing | Community News

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When: Donegal School Board meeting, 14 April. Board member Lisa Albert joined the meeting virtually. Vice President Timothy Markovitz was absent.

What happened: The board voted 8-0 to change the original health and safety plan to exclude contact tracing, effective May 1. Superintendent J. Michael Lausch discussed the latest updates from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which contacted school districts on April 1, advising them the state was no longer conducting student contact tracing. Lausch wanted the inclusion of a caveat that would allow contact tracing to be reinstated if COVID-19 cases were to increase.

Background: Lausch estimated that the district has handled about five cases in the past seven weeks, including two that occurred the week before the Easter holiday. If the board didn’t approve the amendment at that meeting, Lausch suggested they might as well end the year with the original plan. The May 1 recommendation would help “in the event of a fallout from the holidays,” Lausch said, noting why the change wouldn’t be immediate.

why is it important: Lausch reminded the board and the public that contact tracing was used to identify students who were in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19. It was the choice of parents and guardians whether identified students should stay home. If students showed symptoms, they were expected to stay home.

Accessibility ramp update: Council voted 7-1 to approve the construction of a new disability accessibility ramp at Donegal Stadium. Ron Melleby, the only board member who voted against the ramp solution, updated the board on the updated costs of the options available to solve the accessibility ramp dilemma. The first option, creating a new ramp at the other end of the neighborhood stadium, would now cost $153,228, a 9% increase taking inflation into account. The lead time is 150 days for fabrication and materials, with a lead time of two to three weeks for installation. The same principle of inflation was applied to the estimated cost of the second option, bringing it to $158,437. This option consists of creating an entrance and a lit path leading to the existing ramp. The council considered that it was urgent to find a solution quickly to avoid further price increases.

Don: Giant Co. donated $3,644 to the district’s food service program. This was possible thanks to the supermarket chain’s Feeding School Kids initiative.

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