For the first time since secondary students returned to in-person learning, the numbers of quarantined students has decreased in Rochester's public schools.
According to the district's COVID-19 dashboard, there were 21 new cases of COVID during the week of May 3-9. During the same period, there were 432 students and staff in quarantine. The number of people in quarantine was down by more than 200 from the week before when it hit a high of 651.
The decrease came a little bit ahead of a new executive order by Gov. Tim Walz, removing the need for vaccinated individuals to wear masks. Although many high school students have been able to receive vaccinations so far, wearing masks will still be required in schools.
"The CDC has not yet provided clear guidance for school settings, but has stated that they expect to update guidance for children in school and summer camps soon," Minnesota Commissioner of Education Heather Mueller said in a statement Thursday. "Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan, along with the existing face covering guidance for schools and child care settings, remain in effect. Through the end of the 2020-21 school year (last teacher contact day), masks must continue to be worn by everyone inside school buildings or on a school bus."
Although not as dramatically as the quarantine situation, the number of new cases reported in the district also has decreased. The 21 new cases reported during the most recent reporting period was 11 less than the week before. It marked the lowest number of new cases reported by the district since the week of March 29-April 4 when there were a mere four new cases.
Some other districts are seeing a little bit of a decline or consistently low numbers as well.
Byron Public Schools had nine positive cases and 12 people quarantined during the week of May 7-13. That is down from several weeks ago when the district had 18 positive cases and 66 people quarantined.
Plainview-Elgin-Millville has even lower numbers, reporting only one positive case among staff and only one positive case among students as of Friday, with 29 students in quarantine.
Dover-Eyota only had one positive case, and 26 students in quarantine.
The Minnesota Department of Health releases a weekly list of school buildings that have had five or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 over a two-week reporting period. There were no schools in Wabasha or Fillmore counties on the list.
Olmsted County schools:
Byron Middle School
- Byron High School
- John Adams Middle School, Rochester
- Kellogg Middle School, Rochester
- Lourdes High School, Rochester
- Mayo High School, Rochester
Dodge County schools:
Kasson-Mantorville Middle School
Kasson-Mantorville Senior High
Triton High School, Dodge Center
Goodhue County schools:
Cannon Falls Secondary
Kenyon-Wanamingo Middle School
Pine Island Secondary
Red Wing Senior High
Zumbrota-Mazeppa Senior High
Mower County schools:
Austin High School
- Ellis Middle, Austin
- Woodson Kindergarten Center, Austin
Winona County schools:
Winona Middle School