District 99 had a positivity rate of 0.08%, why hasn’t anybody heard?


Luc Alvarez

Out of 1246 samples including 47% of in-person students, only one sample had significant findings, potentially due to a false positive.

Beginning on Feb. 16, District 99 began screening students for COVID-19 through a mandatory saliva testing program. As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines became more clear, the district made the proper adjustment in making testing voluntary; however, one thing remains unclear — why the district has barely told the community of the results.

For the week of Feb. 22, out of 1264 individuals tested, only one was found to have significant amounts of the Sars-CoV-2 virus in their sample. That’s right, only one.

This is great news for everybody involved: students, staff and the larger District 99 community. That’s why it remains perplexing that this data wasn’t found in a districtwide email but instead presented at a board meeting that received less than 100 views. To find the data presented, community members must go to the updates tab on the district’s website which links to a dashboard that links to a Google Doc which finally links to the Google Doc the data is found on.

Simply put, next to nobody has seen this data.

With updated CDC guidance allowing for fully in-person school, the district has begun a push to get as many students in the building following spring break. As administrators plan out how to do this logistically, the district should also celebrate its current school safety successes in hopes of boosting attendance.

Currently, 46% of DGS students have opted out entirely from hybrid learning. If the district hopes to make strides in reducing this number, they should make every effort to showcase how safe school is. By doing so, students currently worried about school being unsafe would be more likely to take part in in-person learning.

With $600,000 being put into the COVID-19 screening program, the district should make the most of its success story by proving to the community just how safe school has been thus far.