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The Moniteau County R-1 School District Board of Education came together with the Moniteau County Health Center again last week, this time to ask more questions and receive recommendations from public health officials regarding how the district can improve how it handles the coronavirus pandemic.

The Health Center — after answering a number of questions about how it facilitates contact tracing and how positive case and quarantine numbers in California schools compare to other area school districts — delivered a list of concerns it hoped the board would address in the near future.

One of these, the Health Center's recommendation the school limit attendance at sporting events due to the likelihood of spectator attendance being too high to allow for social distancing, was on the agenda for yet another school board special meeting that took place this morning at 7 a.m. — more information about that meeting will be reported in next week's edition of the Democrat.

Especially in regards to the transition to winter sports, the Health Center last week expressed concerns about the heightened risk posed by those events being indoors or in a closed environment.

In its recommendations to the board last week, the Health Center compiled guidance shared by the Missouri State High School Activities Association and National Federation of State High School Associations regarding social distancing during sporting events. Some of the information gathered included examples of tiers that people could be placed into, from essential to nonessential, when considering who can attend sporting events in person. For example, the recommendations list people like athletes, coaches and officials as "Tier 1 (Essential)" and spectators and vendors in the "Tier 3 (Nonessential)" category.

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The Health Center also asked either a school nurse or another appropriate person more directly partner with them to at least begin the process of contact tracing notification and getting close contacts into quarantine, to relieve some of the burden on Health Center staff. As of last week's meeting, all of the schools in Moniteau County besides California are contacting close contacts from their end to help facilitate and expedite the quarantine process.

To this end, the Health Center provided a number of suggestions and resources to help California's schools begin helping out with this.

Finally, the Health Center asked for clarification regarding the school district's green, yellow and red statuses indicated in its reopening plan from earlier this year — specifically, the metrics or conditions for each status. School board members indicated the statuses listed in the reopening plan did not list any specific thresholds for when the district would be forced to go remote, just how instruction would look in the event that it had to happen, and would be exploring the question in the near future.

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