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Madison School District sees dozens of new COVID cases and quarantines in past week
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COVID-19 | MADISON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Madison School District sees dozens of new COVID cases and quarantines in past week

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The number of COVID-19 cases in the Madison School District continues to rise, with 170 new cases during the past two weeks, up from 144 for the two-week period before that.

Three of Madison’s four main high schools saw more than 10 COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. East recorded 17 cases and 106 quarantines, La Follette recorded 14 cases with 85 quarantines, and Memorial recorded 11 cases with 21 quarantines. Thoreau Elementary School also saw 11 cases with 63 quarantines.

East announced the cancellation of a football game scheduled for Thursday against Verona due to health and safety concerns after several members of the team were identified as close contacts to COVID-19 cases.

District spokesperson Tim LeMonds said there isn’t a specific benchmark for COVID-19 cases or quarantines used to determine whether a sporting event should be canceled to mitigate spread of the virus, and that consideration is taken on a case-by-case basis.

Sixteen schools in the district also recorded 20 or more quarantines due to close contacts with a COVID-19 case, including West High School with 58 and Whitehorse Middle School with 53.

There were 893 students, teachers or staff quarantined during the past 14 days, compared with 789 on Sept. 29. The district has roughly 32,000 students, teachers and staff.

Outside Madison

Among other school districts in Dane County:

  • Mount Horeb, with 2,500 student, recorded 18 cases and 78 students who were required to quarantine between the beginning of the school year and Oct. 5.
  • Waunakee, with 4,400 students, recorded 11 cases and 31 students who were required to quarantine during the week of Sept. 27.
  • Middleton-Cross Plains, with 7,500 students, reported 44 cases and 126 close contacts among students and staff from the start of the school year through Wednesday.
  • DeForest, with 3,800 students, recorded 63 cases between the beginning of the school year and Friday.
  • Belleville, with 900 students, recorded five cases and 69 students and staff who were required to quarantine between the start of the school year and Friday.
  • Wisconsin Heights, with 700 students, recorded 10 cases between the start of the school year and Wednesday.
  • Monona Grove, with 3,600 students, recorded 108 cases and 211 quarantines among students and staff between the start of the school year and Monday.

Stoughton, with 2,900 students, recorded 11 cases among students and staff and 55 students and staff who were required to quarantine during the previous week.

  • Cambridge, with 900 students, did not update its dashboard on Wednesday but recorded eight cases among students and staff between the start of the school year and Sept. 23.
  • Verona, with 5,700 students, has recorded 61 cases among students and staff since the start of the school year.
  • Oregon, with 4,100 students, recorded 84 cases between the start of the school year and Oct. 4.
  • McFarland, with 2,400 students, has had a total of 24 cases since the start of the school year.

Sun Prairie, with 8,500 students, recorded 106 cases between the start of the school year and Sept. 30.

  • Deerfield and Marshall did not respond to a request for COVID case and quarantine data.

Vaccine mandates

The Middleton-Cross Plains School Board unanimously approved a vaccine requirement for all district teachers and staff in September. Staff will have until Nov. 15 to be fully vaccinated, though the vast majority already are, district spokesperson Shannon Valladolid said. Those who choose not to get vaccinated due to a medical or religious reason will be tested weekly.

The Monona Grove School Board also adopted a vaccine requirement for staff at its Sept. 21 meeting. The policy requires all employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination by Dec. 1 as a condition of employment. Accommodations will be considered on a case-by-case basis, district spokesperson Katy Byrnes Kaiser said.

The Madison School Board adopted a vaccine requirement in a unanimous vote, also in September. Teachers and staff in the district must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1, while those with medical or religious reasons for not getting inoculated will be tested twice a week.

Since the start of the school year, Madison has sent out communication to parents via email to notify them of a COVID-19 case in their child’s school building. If their child is considered a close contact, parents are sent a separate email with additional information.

The district began rolling out a rapid testing initiative at the beginning of September, with the help of the Department of Health Services. On-site testing for students, teachers and staff was available at nine Madison school campuses as of Wednesday, LeMonds said.

So far, one full class has been required to quarantine, while 14 other classrooms have pivoted to online-only learning for a period of six to 10 days due to multiple quarantines in a single class. Not every student in the 14 classes was required to quarantine, LeMonds said.

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