To the editor:
At the beginning of the school year, the Lindbergh School District announced they would be taking a data-driven approach to determine when and whether to open schools for in-person instruction.
They released criteria with specific numbers for Positive Test Rate, Daily New Cases Per 100K and Transmission Rate that would guide their decisions on in-person and virtual school.
Following this criteria, schools were reopened. Families had the option to choose all-virtual schooling. It seemed that things were going well and the district was following its gating criteria.
Now, the pandemic has exploded. According to Lindbergh’s data, as of Nov. 16, 875 students and staff are either in quarantine or have tested positive for COVID.
According to the gating criteria presented to the Board of Education in September and included in an email to parents when the elementary schools were opened full time, it is clear that Lindbergh High School, at least, should not be open.
The criteria to enter the “red” (online only for all grade levels) phase includes a test positivity rate of greater than 15 percent. The current (Nov. 18) rate in St. Louis County is 20.9 percent.
The second criteria is Daily New Cases Per 100K in the Lindbergh ZIP codes being greater than 25. As of Nov. 18, this number is 89.6. The third criteria is a transmission rate of greater than 1.5.
The current number for the state of Missouri is 1.18 — this would fall within Lindbergh’s “orange” phase, which their guidelines state may have elementary and middle schools open, but not the high school.
It’s puzzling why Lindbergh’s administration seems to have abandoned the data-driven approach. Have they changed their criteria? If so, why not be as transparent as they were when the data supported their decisions?