Statement on School-Related COVID Data

Posted on 11/17/2020
Statement on school-related COVID data

The St. Charles County Department of Public Health published new data today regarding COVID-19 cases linked to school attendance and school facilities.

This data differs from that previously reported by the Francis Howell School District.

Here’s why:

  • The health department data includes close contacts exposed directly through a school setting, AND
  • All other cases involving students or staff members, regardless of where transmission occurred.

If there is reported or suspected transmission among two individuals who are connected with the District in some capacity, it will show as transmission in the health department’s data – even if the individuals are linked in other ways outside of school.

For example, a sleepover that leads to the spread of COVID from one student to another would show up in the health department’s count, but not in ours. Likewise, transmission between two siblings who both attend FHSD schools would be reported as a “school-linked transmission” on the health department dashboard, but we would not count that as school spread. 

When contract tracing, we have kept a close eye on reported transmission within the school setting so we can better understand the impact of school attendance on our COVID numbers. We do follow cases where the reported transmission occurred outside of school (and include these cases in our weekly dashboard updates) but we do not include them when reporting how much spread we have seen in our buildings.

We know that conflicting information from multiple entities can create confusion and distrust. We hope that this statement helps to clarify the ways in which our data differs from the county’s data.

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