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In what is likely a relief to parents and community members alike, data published by Denver Public Schools shows that COVID-19 numbers in North Denver schools are relatively low. As of September 2, (the most current data available when this issue went to press) the district reported a total of 100 current student cases and 39 staff cases, with the majority of the staff cases likely coming from exposure outside of the school, according to school officials. Only three staff were in quarantine due to a known exposure at school, though 154 students were in a 10-day quarantine as well.
North Denver’s largest school, North High School, had zero confirmed cases at the time, and school officials said they have had two confirmed cases since the year began. On any given day, 6-10 students stay home due to showing possible symptoms and for testing. The North campus has just under 2000 students.
North Principal Scott Wolf credits School Nurse (who has the added title of COVID coordinator) Susan Camp for keeping the school’s numbers low.
Camp attributes their low numbers to three things:
1. Continual community messaging regarding the need to stay home if ill
“Our parents have done an amazing job keeping their sick kids home and calling for assistance in guidance around returning,” explained Camp.
2. Vigilance in the staff for sending sick students to the nurse’s office
“This allows us to quickly remove any concerning symptoms AND instant access for our families to convenient testing.”
“Our staff and students are taking this situation very seriously. We are having 1:1 conversations with any student/staff who require reminders around masking.”
On the note of masking, this reporter spent several hours at North unrelated to this story the week of September 6 and did not see any students inside without a mask.
Multiple schools in North Denver also reported 0 or 1 cases as of the September 2 update, with Skinner Middle School reporting 4. The highest number at the time in any DPS school was 6 cases.
The snapshot data doesn’t tell the entire story though, and not all data is available on the public-facing web page. DPS’ website does not list aggregate data or data from past weeks, so unless someone is recording the snapshots as they appear there’s no way for the public to see full data for the district. When asked how that data could be accessed, a spokesperson for the district office said they would look into the issue, but then did not respond to multiple followup requests for information.
UPDATE: After this issue went to press, the district replied with some aggregate date:
June: 17 total cases (2 staff, 15 students)
July: 4 total cases (2 staff, 2 students)
August: 172 total cases (72 staff, 100 students)