School’s to Resume In-Person Instruction

I want to first thank all of our students, families, staff and community for managing the ever changing landscape of this COVID year.  When we began I asked everyone to offer grace and patience.  Thank you for both of those gifts.  So many people have expressed their appreciation and support over the last few days as we navigated positive cases within our student body. At the same time, I can’t be the only one that is a little worn out of wearing my mask and constantly pivoting.  Quite frankly, I wish it would all go away.  Yet, wishing never changed reality.  The virus is real and it is a threat.  So, I put on my mask each day and keep offering grace and patience to those around me as we struggle together as a community to protect precious privileges like in-person instruction.

Each positive COVID case has a complicated story that has to be unraveled to understand the risks to others.  We took a pause and went to remote learning so that public health and our school nurses could unravel stories and support families in understanding who might be at risk and who was not.  IF you were not directly contacted by public health and told to quarantine then you do not need to take further action to reduce your family’s risks. IF you were asked to quarantine, please comply for the sake of everyone else.  Ask your friend or neighbor to get you groceries or other things. Fourteen days goes quick.  There is a frequent story in communities of individuals ignoring quarantine orders and accelerating the spread of the virus.  Ask if you need help and we will all support you managing the process, that is what community is about.  No one is immune to the virus, and you may be the next one to face the trial.  Please avoid any social stigmas because someone drew the short straw and has to directly face this virus.  We will strive to keep all individual names anonymous to protect privacy.  It is a small town, you might be able to figure out who is struggling–don’t do it.  

All in-person instruction will resume on Monday, October 12th.  The individuals at-risk of infection are all honoring quarantine directions and will not be present.  

Please know Public Health has procured new tests that are available to the student body, and are not invasive at all. If you have any symptoms or are wondering about how to respond to symptoms please call your school nurse or public health.  We will help you navigate the situation.  If you are symptomatic stay home until you know how to best respond.

Additionally, know that the district is talking daily to public health, the hospital and local doctors.  We are discussing trends and monitoring risks. We have been sending home 10-30 people a day since school began to seek medical guidance or complete a test.  After reviewing all of the test data, positive cases, and any other circumstances we cannot find any place where students are transmitting the disease through school programming or facilities.  All spread is happening outside of the school in social circumstances.  

20% of the year is complete.  We planned for this, and the plan worked. AND, the numbers are creeping up in our county, the risks are increasing.  Please take this seriously and protect our privilege of in-person programming.

We got this.  When you find yourself weary, remember you are not alone.  Continue to reach out. Continue to offer grace and patience.  As we know better, we will do better.

Lastly, some reminders and thoughts from our Public Health partners.

https://covid19.colorado.gov/are-you-sick/isolation-and-quarantine

COVID-19 Symptoms: 

CRITICAL SYMPTOMMINOR SYMPTOMS
Loss of taste or smellSore throat
Runny nose or congestion
MAJOR SYMPTOMSMuscle or body aches
Feeling feverish, having chills, orHeadache
Temperature of 100.4° F or greaterFatigue
New or unexplained persistent coughNausea, vomiting
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathingDiarrhea

Chaffee County Public Health offers Curative testing, Monday-Friday from 11am-12pm. Curative testing is a quick, non-invasive mouth swab that can be collected by a student or parent. The process is as easy as brushing your teeth and only takes 30 seconds. Appointments for testing are required. To schedule a student or school staff member for testing, call 719-530-2565. Test results are typically reported within 48-72 hours. 

With non-invasive testing with a fairly quick turnaround, it is strongly suggested that every person with qualifying symptoms is tested for COVID-19. As a reminder, if you are awaiting COVID-19 test results, you are to remain isolated until you receive a negative result. In addition, if you have been identified as a close contact, you need to remain quarantined for 14 days from last exposure, regardless of negative COVID-19 test results.

Respectfully,

David Blackburn
Superintendent

%d bloggers like this: