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Monroe school officials ease COVID-19 guidelines
coronavirus covid-19

CDC updates community level metric measures

South Central Wisconsin is low

The COVID-19 community level is determined by the higher of the new admissions and inpatient beds metrics, based on the current level of new cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days

To find out the COVID-19 community level:

●  First determine whether a county, state, or territory has fewer than 200 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days or 200 new cases or more per 100,000 people in the past 7 days.

●  Then, determine the level (low, medium, or high) for the new admissions and inpatient beds and indicators using the scale for the area’s number for new cases.

●  The COVID-19 Community Level is based on the higher of the new admissions and inpatient beds metrics.

●  Check county-level COVID-19 maps at

MONROE — With a dramatic reduction in the number of cases in the area, Monroe school officials this week relaxed their COVID-19 guidelines.

Masks have been optional in school for most students for weeks now but the district — at its last meeting on Monday, Feb. 28 — agreed to discontinue “contact tracing” of students who test positive in the schools, said school district business administrator Ron Olson.

“We previously would try to determine every person the positive individual was within six feet of for more than 15 minutes and then would quarantine those individuals,” said Olson. “We now will simply be providing notification to parents that there was an exposure and offer the opportunity to have their child tested if they so choose.”

The move comes after the number of those students and school staff impacted by COVID-19 had fallen — from at one point in the hundreds, to just four cases recently. That’s not to say the district isn’t paying attention to COVID-19, officials said, but rather that they are adopting looser rules unless the number of cases soar again.

“We will continue to contact trace for household exposures and quarantine those household contacts,” said Olson. “We will also offer a test for the quarantined individuals so, if they choose, they could come in and if they have a negative test could attend school that day.”

Parents were notified of the change in a letter from Joe Monroe, director of pupil services, sent after the school board meeting.

“These changes were implemented in an effort to acknowledge the significant decrease in COVID activity in our community,” said Monroe. “In addition, this update aims to limit the amount of student learning loss resulting from quarantine practices.”

Another major change related to the COVID-19 policy, officials said, is the guidance for mask-wearing while students are on buses. By federal mandate students still had to mask up on school buses.  But the guidance on that rule was relaxed just last Friday, leaving it up to the individual districts to decide their own policies, he said.

“Our buses will follow whatever the current practice is in schools,” said Olson. “So currently that would mean buses are mask optional.”

The district still has its ‘Heightened COVID Response Plan’ available, officials said, should the number of the cases in the community and in the school increase again.