OAK CREEK – The Oak Creek Health Department is asking this community’s school district council to require masks in schools, with health officials arguing in a letter Tuesday that the school district is aware of one of the highest case rates among Milwaukee County students.
Oak Creek Health Department Manager Darcy DuBois and Oak Creek Pediatric Medical Advisor Steven Jereb wrote to the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District School Board that “All students have right to a safe learning environment and, currently, students in the Oak Creek-Franklin School District do not learn in the safest environment. “
They note that confirmed cases of the coronavirus have increased “significantly” over the past month, with Oak Creek having an average of 17 new cases per day as of October 1. This is compared to an average of 11 in early September.
Officials continue that the percentage of cases among school-aged children in Oak Creek has increased dramatically since the start of the school year. In August, 21% of total COVID-19 cases were in school-aged children, while in September, 34% of COVID-19 cases were in school-aged children, according to DuBois and Jereb. This means Oak Creek proportionately leads Milwaukee County with the highest rates of COVID-19, they said.
Health officials say some of their recommendations related to COVID-19 have been rolled out by the school district – such as making testing accessible to the community and working with the health department on finding contracts – but that “we remain very concerned that many of the strongest mitigation strategies are not currently in place at OCFSD, including universal masking and quarantine of close contacts, ”they write.
“The most effective tool to prevent the widespread transmission of COVID-19 in school is the universal use of face masks by all students and staff,” according to their letter, which quotes a recent CDC report studying the relationship between masking and school epidemics.
“The Oak Creek-Franklin School District is hereby advised to implement the universal use of face masks for all students and staff, except where medically inappropriate. We must continue to work together to implement strategies to keep students, staff and the community safe. to allow schools to continue to provide safe in-person learning to students in the Oak Creek-Franklin School District, ”DuBois and Jereb conclude.
Click here to read their letter.
Click here to view the school district’s COVID-19 dashboard.
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