SAS Phasing Out Covid Dashboard

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Saline Area Schools will no longer have a coronavirus tracking dashboard available as of April 15. The decision was announced by Superintendent Steve Laatsch at the April 12 Board of Education meeting right after the Saline Jazz Band wrapped up its concert.

Like other school districts, Saline has spent the pandemic with masking rules that changed as information regarding the nature of the virus did; as well as a dash board that tracked vital infection statistics. Masks were phased out last February. And as the omicron crest has continued to peter out, the district is continuing to follow Michigan Department of Health and Human Services guidelines in phasing out the dashboard.

“We’re continuing to follow guidance and what the priorities and requirements [are]. The idea here is we have been through over two years of the Covid pandemic and we are starting to operationalize it in society,” Laatsch told the Sun Times News after the meeting. “I think this is a signal of that. The dashboard is disappearing. Close contact tracing is going away. This is a signal to me that this is how we operationalize it and won’t be doing all of these additional precautions anymore.”

But this does not mean that all Covid-19 tracking is going away. The WCHD will continue to keep hospitalization records by age category. But rather than trying to track down, isolate and control the virus the way the government did early on in the pandemic, the virus will now be tracked the same way traditional influenza or whooping cough is.

“The reason that the state probably moved away from these dashboards is that the idea of tracking individual cases in individual settings isn’t necessarily very helpful for overall risk. When I say that, I don’t mean there isn’t a concern if you’re directly exposed. But as rates of Covid have decreased overall in the community, and as treatments and vaccination have improved, cases don’t necessarily lead to serious illness for most people. With vaccinations on board for school age kids and with the ability to have prehospital treatment [and] at home testing more widely available, we should be able to have less focus on individual cases,” Washtenaw County Health Department Spokeswoman Susan Ringler-Cerniglia said in an interview by phone.

Laatsch also confirmed that the dashboard could return if a serious enough variant of Covid-19 returns, as could masking.

Image Credit: Saline High School.

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