Start of the School Year COVID-19 Case Update for MMSD


Jonathan Buscher

With the first few weeks of school, MMSD has faced COVID-19 returning at the start of the year. From August 29-September 9, MMSD reported 253 total positive COVID-19 tests, an increase from the early weeks of the 2021-2022 school year. Following this, 272 cases were reported the week of September 12, followed by a slight decrease to 212 the week of September 19, 2022. 

Unsurprisingly, the majority of these cases have been reported in high schools, as they have the largest student population. However, west-side high schools have tended to have more cases, with the school year totals being 103 at Memorial and 105 at West, compared to 50 and 56 cases at La Follette and West respectively.

Dane County itself is currently at “Medium” for community level COVID-19 spread, as set by the CDC. As of September 28th, there were approximately 178.3 cases of the virus for every 100,000 people, as reported by Public Health Madison & Dane County. 

Part of this may have to do with the fact that masking in school is now highly recommended, rather than required as it was last year. However, case counts conducted by MMSD are only one metric of measuring COVID-19, especially with the now prevalent at-home tests, and those who haven’t gotten tested. Tim LeMonds, a spokesperson for the district, has written that, “In addition to case counts, our metrics team and medical advisors would consider community conditions, attendance rates, staffing levels (and) hospitalizations.”

Currently, MMSD is using a few different strategies other than masks in order to minimize spread. These include improved cleaning and ventilation systems, reminders of good hygiene, and recommendations to stay home if sick. If a student or staff member does test positive for COVID-19, they are required to stay home through day six of infection, and after that, need to wear a mask through day 10, only returning after being asymptomatic. This not only includes COVID-19, but also any other signs of a respiratory infection.