We want to continue to safely educate the children of our community in the classroom without masks or other restrictions. But as I look at the vaccination rate in Polk County and see that only 34% (via Minnesota Department of Health, Sept. 24) of its residents are fully vaccinated, our goal cannot be fully accomplished.
Additionally, according to the CDC, positive COVID cases in Polk County have increased 34% in the week ending Sept. 15.
With the start of a new school year and the fall bringing more large indoor gatherings, there is still the strong possibility that the number of positive COVID-19 cases will increase within the school district.
The new delta variant is more harmful to children than the first strain of COVID-19. We are trying to prevent this round of the virus from halting another year of our children’s educational and social growth.
It is proven that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective. Yes, the vaccine does not protect you 100% from getting COVID-19, but, it does significantly lower your chances of getting COVID-19. Moreover, if one does contract COVID-19 when vaccinated, the vaccine significantly lowers the risk of having life threatening symptoms or death. Just as we ask your children to get vaccines against measles and mumps for the protection of themselves and others, you are asked to get a COVID vaccine.
Our district employees are doing all they can. The district employee vaccination rate is over 80%. Classrooms have been set up to socially distance. Students and staff are encouraged to wash their hands often. The buildings and surfaces are disinfected regularly.
Without everyone in the community stepping up their efforts to stop COVID-19, our biggest fear is that we will return to distance learning and canceling school activities as other districts have done. If this happens, we will have to ask ourselves if we have done everything we could to protect our children?
Can you help us? Can we step up our efforts to fight COVID-19? Can we follow safety protocols in public and, most importantly, get fully vaccinated?
Tim Dufault, Crookston School District board member