Covid Color Changes

An overview of the changes LPOSD has made to the COVID-19 color plan.

The Lake Ponderay School District has been modifying their original COVID-19 protocols. The original color plan included green (no community spread), yellow (Minimal to moderate community spread), orange (substantial risk), and red (high-critical community or individual school transmission). 

Now, the LPOSD board has adopted a new system. This new system omits the orange phase of the original allowing for more flexibility in the red phase. 

The new red plan now includes the “Substantial Risk” category as well as the highly-critical community or individual school transmission category. “The Red Plan means that we could continue going to school 5 days a week…with just some increased safety measures, and that is going to be school by school,” said Albertson. 

There won’t be many changes from the Yellow Plan to the Red plan. One example would be changing the lunch schedule around a little, as well as at the elementary level changing when they wear face coverings and when they don’t. 

The teacher’s association played a role in changing the color system. The association and superintendent, Tom Albertson, speak often to try to accommodate for troubles that develop. Albertson said, “Through conversation with the teacher’s association, we felt that [the orange plan] just didn’t fit.”    

LPOSD’s original and new color plans are shown side-by-side.

The school board felt prompted to change this system after talking with the teacher’s association and discussing observations made by superintendent Tom Alberson., “We’ve had none to very little student to student spread within schools.” Albertson said. He noticed that students who are contracting the virus are students who are living in a household with an adult that has tested positive.   

With this in mind, the school board decided that the safety protocols that had been set in place at the schools were effective and that being in school is not very threatening to the students’ health and safety. However, there is another way the school could be shut down and go to full remote learning. Albertson said, “What would really probably shut our schools down, is going to be the health of our workers.” Employees in the maintenance, transportation, teaching, and office departments all are crucial for the school to function. 

Another reason the color plan has been updated is because keeping students in school allows parents to be able to contribute to their home financially. “Parents need to work, and so having a place for your kids to be is important,” said Albertson. 

There will still be times when school will be shut down. Albertson said, “The only time we would go to a full remote learning or partial remote learning would be if there was a local or state stay-at-home order.” 

Albertson discussed another possible way school would go to full or partial remote learning. He explained that if an individual school had a really large student to student spread in the school. This would not affect the entire district, but just the school where transmission occurred. This school would shut down for around 2 weeks until the threat of getting exposed is gone.  

Schools could still go fully remote, but the school board just wanted the flexibility to stay in school and maximize learning time for all students. Based on observation, schools have not been risky places to be during this pandemic. The safety protocols like sanitizing and wearing face masks have proven to be effective. This new plan will be embracing this observation and using it to the school district’s advantage to keep kids in school and as safe as possible.