Hudson Schools Superintendent Nick Ouellette told the School Board Monday evening that the district has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, including 17 new cases reported over the weekend.
“We’ve had about 298 cases in the school district since the start of the school year,” Ouellette said. “We have had no hospitalizations or deaths.”
The 298 cases include about 30 teachers and staff.
“The vast majority of them have been vaccinated,” he said.
Hudson Prairie Elementary School has had 41 cases this year.
“I think the reason we’re seeing more cases at the elementary level than anything else is because it’s the last group that hasn’t been vaccinated,” Ouellete said.
The school district, in partnership with St. Croix County, will host a vaccination clinic now that the vaccine has been approved for 5 to 11-year-olds.
The clinic will take place in high school on November 17th with a follow-up on December 8th. Both clinics are from 4 to 7 p.m. It is only for children aged 5 to 11 years.
“It will be completely voluntary,” Ouellette said.
There will be pre-registration and walk-ins. The clinics are run by St. Croix County and are intended for county residents.
Ouellette said he’s surveyed other school districts and nearly all of them see about 4 to 5 percent of COVID-19 cases among students and staff — whether or not masks are required.
The board began discussing removing the mask matrix, which determines levels for positive COVID-19 cases and when student masks are needed.
In high school, masks have not been necessary for five or six weeks, the inspector said.
No action was taken, but most board members seemed in favor of ending the mask matrix in the coming weeks, possibly after the January holiday.
The subject will be on the agenda in two weeks so that the board can decide whether and when the use of the mask matrix should be discontinued.
“We don’t want to ignore caution, but we’re trying to find a bit of a balance,” said Ouellete.
The topic was raised by a speaker during the public comment portion of the meeting. The speaker, who did not give her full name, complained that the masks required at primary school this week were hindering her daughter’s breathing and asked the board to re-evaluate mask policies now that vaccines are available to all school-aged children.
“Forcing my daughter to wear a mask is harmful to her well-being,” the woman said.