Bemidji School Board hears updates on COVID, High School schedule

COVID-19’s positivity rate in the Sanford Bemidji region is at an all-time high.

Sanford Health Bemidji’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Wilcox briefed the Bemidji School Board during their meeting Monday with Sanford Bemidji’s positivity rate at over 30 percent.

While the positivity rate is high within the testing region, Wilcox did say that the percentage of positive cases of student-aged children is holding steady in the 20 percent range.

The omicron variant took over the state as the dominant strain in about two weeks, and while the disease does not seem to be as severe with this variant, the rate of infection is substantially higher.

Sanford clinics in the region have also seen seven patients for influenza and over 600 for RSV this winter season.

The Bemidji School Board also discussed changing the high school’s schedule from a four-period day to a five-period.

Any proposed changes are not expected to take effect until the 2023-24 school year.

BHS Principal Dr. Jason Stanoch said a team comprised of teachers from each of the school’s departments participated in the planning process, and the cost savings is expected to be around $80,000.

The savings stem from not needing to hire part-time help to staff classrooms or assign teachers to the duties during their prep times.

No formal action was taken during Monday’s meeting.

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