: transmission rate, positivity rate, cases per 100,000 residents, and 14-day new case trend. As of today, three of four categories are in the red, and the positivity rate, while green, is still higher than we would like to see.”

Dr. Battle thanked all students, staff and families who have worked to mitigate the spread of the virus by wearing masks, washing their hands and practicing safe social distancing. She acknowledged the many sacrifices so many people have made since March, including changing their traditional Thanksgiving plans to avoid indoor gatherings.

Hundreds of MNPS staff and thousands of students have had to quarantine as a result of being a close contact to someone who tested positive for the virus, and the district has logged 347 positive cases (208 staff and 139 students) between October 11 and November 15.

“Nearly all the cases have been contracted outside of the classroom or school, though we are seeing an indication of confirmed and potential transmission at several of our schools,” Dr. Battle wrote. “Even if classroom spread is limited or unlikely, the reality is that we need teachers to teach, and the numbers of isolations and quarantines are taking a toll on our ability to staff classrooms.” 

MNPS reopened schools for students with exceptional needs in September and reopened elementary schools in October so the students who would benefit most from in-person learning would have that option. As the city’s numbers began to spike again in late October, Dr. Battle and the Board of Education decided to pause the reopening phase-in plan before middle schools were scheduled to reopen.