Welcome to the Yellow Category and less restrictions... oh wait, no, never mind.....
According to the former CDH color category transmission guidelines, the top threshold for the "yellow/moderate" transmission color category was 140 cases/100k population/week OR 674 cases in Ada County/week. As you may remember from the blog posts here and here, when CDH adopted the CDC color categories at the end of July, they significantly lowered the thresholds without adequately educating the public on the drastic impact of the color category changes.
Allowing some time for backlogged cases, it is safe to say that, if we were still using the old CDH color category guidance, we would be just barely over the yellow/moderate category the week of November 14 and solidly in the yellow/moderate color category since then. According to the CDH
Public Dashboard: Nov 14: 679 cases in Ada County (only 4 higher than the 674 required for yellow) Nov 21: 494 cases in Ada County (likely low due to Thanksgiving) Nov 28: 646 (likely high due to unreported cases from the prior holiday week). And yet, with the new CDH guidance, we are still in the red category. According to the new guidance, we won't enter the orange/substantial category until we are down to 482 cases in Ada County for the week and won't enter the yellow/moderate category until we are down to 241 cases in Ada County for the week. To give some perspective, we entered the yellow category mid-February 2021. If we had been using the new guidance at the time, we would not have entered the yellow category until the end of May, 3.5 months later.
Why does this matter?
This matters because it affects quarantine policy and also presumably affects the considerations around large events, allowing field trips and transitioning from mandatory to recommended masking.
Since BSD is following the CDH illness decision tree, that means that a 10 day quarantine, negative test or doctor's note is required for any potential covid symptom (including nausea without vomiting/diarrhea, headache, etc.) when Ada County is in the orange or red category. Since nearly 2/3 of what used to be the yellow/moderate category has been re-defined into the orange/substantial or red/high transmission categories, unnecessary quarantine of healthy children will continue. In order to satisfy guidance based on an arbitrary metric that changed overnight, healthy children will be denied access to in-person education and excluded from extra-curricular activities.
Furthermore, it also means that BSD is currently being more strict with illness policy NOW than they were in mid-February of last school year. When teachers were just becoming eligible to receive their second COVID shot, the elderly and vulnerable were just becoming eligible for their first COVID shots, middle-aged adults and younger were not eligible to receive a shot and many fewer people had natural immunity. So, it is safer now than it was in mid-Feb due to so many people receiving COVID shots, having natural immunity or both, but the quarantine policy at BSD is more strict now than it was then. Again, we ask BSD, why are you doing this? Why are you more concerned about CDH's arbitrary metrics than with the education and well-being of your own students and staff? Please watch our video, sign our petition and subscribe to our mailing list. Please e-mail those in charge and tell them what you think: Boise School District Trustees@boiseschools.org
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