Despite an increase of COVID-19 cases in places in North Platte, the public schools had no positive cases among students as of the end of the school day Monday, Supt. Ron Hanson told the board of education.

At the school board meeting Monday evening, Operations Manager Stuart Simpson said the precautions of custodians, Kids Klub staff and the nutrition service make those employees unsung heroes of the successful operation of the schools during the pandemic.

The latest outbreak of COVID-19 in the North Platte community is significant.

On Friday, Oct. 9, a North Platte long-term care home reported that five residents died and there were 41 positive cases among residents. Also, 18 total staff members there tested positive, according to a letter from the director that was provided to the Bulletin.

North Platte school district spokeswoman Tina Smith confirmed that the schools had no positive cases as of 4 p.m. Monday. She also said 28 students and two staff members were in quarantine because of possible exposure.

The “dashboard” of information from the West Central District Health Department reported 107 new positive cases just last week – Oct. 4-10. That is the highest number of cases in the six counties of the health district since mid-August.

As of Monday, there were 219 active COVID-19 cases reported in the WCDHD.

In addition to six confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the health district, eight more deaths are under investigation to determine the cause, the WCDHD dashboard said.

Nevertheless, school goes on without much trouble. The district’s maintenance director Lori Coburn told the school board Monday that custodians are diligent about cleanliness.

Coburn said classrooms are thoroughly cleaned every night with disinfectant. Tables, desks, doorknobs and light switches are wiped clean several times a day.

Coburn said since classes started this fall, the district has used 270 gallons of disinfectant, 308 boxes of gloves, 68 gallon-size containers of hand sanitizer, plus 34 cases of small bottles of sanitizer. She said the inventory of supplies is well-stocked and delivered on a regular schedule to each school building.

Coburn as well as Operations Director Stuart Simpson said the buildings’ heating and air conditioners also circulate at least 10% fresh air through the building, or more if the weather is favorable.

School Board President Skip Altig credited the administrators and staff for developing a thorough return-to-school plan that is effective and adjusts as needed to changing conditions.