Omaha-area schools report COVID-19 cases days after opening

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Schools in the Omaha area are reporting new cases of the coronavirus just days after opening classes to in-person attendance during a global pandemic.

Officials with Millard Public Schools disclosed two confirmed cases this week at the district's Reagan Elementary School, while Ralston Public Schools also sent notice of a confirmed case in its Blumfield Elementary School, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

The Millard district opened classrooms on Monday and has been on a staggered attendance system this week, with a quarter of its students attending each day. The district was set to bring back all students who have chosen in-person learning by next week, but Superintendent Jim Sutfin acknowledged that could change, given the new virus cases. Sutfin said he might decide to divide high school students into two groups who would attend classes in person every other day.

Blumfield Elementary Principal Casey Knight informed parents Wednesday that a person who was involved with the pre-kindergarten classroom but who is not a student had tested positive for the virus. The notice came a day after Ralston schools opened to students. Ralston is also on a staggered attendance system, with students divided into two groups and attending school on alternate days.

Both districts said that the people infected and those who have been in close contact with them have been told to self-quarantine, and both schools where the infections were reported were being deep-cleaned.

Nebraska continues to see new virus cases reported daily. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska decreased from 281 new cases per day as of July 29 to about 265 new cases per day as of Aug. 12. However, the seven-day daily average of COVID-19 deaths over the past two weeks has increased, to 2.71 deaths per day as of Aug. 12, from 1.57 deaths per day as of July 29.