The Superior Express -

Schools move to virtual classes as COVID rages

 

October 15, 2020



In the early weeks of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it was an impersonal incovenince for most Superior residents. Most residents didn’t know anyone who had contracted the illness and they felt our rural community would escape the most of the problem and by summer the pandemic would be forgotten. It didn’t go away during the summer but few cases were reported in Nuckolls County. We were feeling pretty smug about avoiding the problem other areas were facing.

That has since changed and the chickens (or in this case COVID numbers) have come home to roost.

With rapidly soaring numbers of victims and Superior area residents being hospitalized, panic had set in by Friday.

Thursday the administration of the Superior Public Schools and Brodstone Hospital had released joint statements which we are printing in this issue.

By Friday afternoon, school officials had closed the schools for all of this week, the City of Superior had closed the city office, parks and library and church leaders said they would not be holding Sunday services. More closures were to follow.

The bowling leagues suspended play, the Living Faith Fellowship Church Halloween Carnival was canceled, the Harvest Lunch sponsored by the Superior Chamber of Commerce and Nuckolls County Beef Boosters was postponed and Casey’s General Store closed. A sign on the Casey’s store advised news media representatives seeking an explanation to send an email to the company. We did as directed but the company has not responded. It assumed the closure is related to COVID-19 but that has not been confirmed.

A number of stories in this issue of The Express provide additional details.

Information about closures and schedule changes will be posted on our web site as we receive the information. We will update the website at superiorne.com as we receive the information.

Some stores have returned to the curbside delivery service plan they offered in the spring. More are requiring masks.Thus far the governor’s office has not issued shutdown orders but local residents are acting on their own to slow the spread of the virus.

City of Superior Statement

Friday afternoon The Express received the following from the City of Superior:

Due to an increase in the number of COVID cases in the community, the City of Superior has decided to make the following changes.

Effective Monday the Superior City Offices will have their doors closed to the public. Business can still be conducted through the drive-up window, over the phone, or by appointment. The phone number is 402-879-4711.

The City Parks will close at midnight on Oct. 11with a reopening date to be determined at a later time. The city campground however will remain open.

The municipal library will be close with curbside pickup only. The exception will be those individuals utilizing the Innovation Studio by appointment only. The phone number is 402-879-4200. The reopening date of the library will be determined at a later time.

The City of Superior would like to remind the citizens to please stay safe. Be sure to practice social distancing, hand hygiene, and masking when out in public.

Thursday’s School Plan

Thursday hospital and school administrators issued the following joint announcements with regard to the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the Superior area. The first printed here is from Marty Kobza, school superintendent.

Like much of Nebraska, we have been experiencing an increase in the number of positive cases in our school, specifically among our athletes. At this time, the specific origin of these cases is unknown. The school board, administration and myself are taking this very seriously and making decisions based on what we think is best for our students and our staff.

Any student or staff member who was considered to be exposed, in close contact, or showing symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to be tested. If you have been tested, you are required to quarantine at home while awaiting results. Regardless if your test is negative and you had exposure to someone who tested positive, specific direction on quarantine requirements will come from the health department based on whether exposure was school or non-school related.

Any time there is a positive case the school district is in contact with the health department to assist with contact tracing and to ensure that those students and staff that need to be in quarantine are following those directives.

We believe the school is the best place for students during school hours. It is the best learning environment and an environment in which safety is of paramount concern.

Many of the cases of exposure that we are experiencing within the school system are a result of events or activities outside of the classroom. Gatherings at someone’s house, riding in a vehicle together, or exposure through activities have been major factors. When students are in school we are able to help ensure masking and social distancing is being maintained. Starting tomorrow, (October 9) we are requiring masks of all PreK-12 students at all times, except when eating. During lunch, the number of students at each table is limited and students are socially distanced.

If school is shut down, students all too often end up at the park, a friend’s house or in a daycare situation. These are sometimes less controlled environments than at school. For working parents daycare is often a challenge when school is not in session. Sometimes grandparents are asked to help watch children, putting our most at-risk population in danger during an outbreak. High school students watch elementary students, which we are currently keeping separated at school to avoid spread between age groups. Having young children stay at home by themselves involves risk and letting older children stay at home unsupervised can result in gatherings where spread can occur.

We continue to work closely with the health department to determine when the risk of being in school outweighs the risk of not being in school. It is our desire to remain in school unless we are unable to function because of a large outbreak among staff members or the number of students who are absent makes it impractical. At this time, we do not foresee shutting down school.

Brodstone Hospital Statement

Treg Vyzourek issued the following on behalf of Brodstone Memorial Hospital:

Brodstone Memorial Hospital is here to support our community and make sure the community is safe. We are encouraging all individuals to follow CDC recommended guidelines which include properly wearing your mask, practicing proper hand hygiene, and social distancing. We stand with South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) in their “I’ll protect you, you protect me” approach to COVID-19 prevention. Of utmost importance is being aware of your surroundings and staying informed during this time.

If you have symptoms or feel that you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, contact Superior Family Medical Center at 402-879-4781, take our online COVID Screener at http://www.brodstonehospital.org/covid-19/ or complete the online assessment available at http://www.testnebraska.com.

We are continuing regular, daily operations here in our facility and encourage you to seek your medical care as normal. We are prepared to safely handle both COVID and non-COVID related patient needs and as always we will continue to put our employees and patient’s safety first.

We will continue to work with Superior Public Schools to provide guidance and resources, from a healthcare standpoint, to the best of our abilities. SHDHD is the best place to stay up to date and informed about local COVID activity. If you ever have concerns or questions please feel free to utilize them as a resource during this time.

Health Department Report

The following story was issued by the South Heartland District Health Department about 10 p.m. Monday.

 

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