Safer at Home Orange Level update

Safer at Home, Orange Level update for Schools
Posted on 11/05/2020

Dear D51 Staff & Families,

Today, the Mesa County Public Health Department announced that the county is moving to Level Orange: High Risk of the Safer at Home level on Saturday, due to the alarming pace of COVID-19 transmission in our community. With this announcement came many questions about how this affects schools, and we hope to provide some clarity.

Mesa County Public Health has indicated that, due to the low rate of transmissions within schools, we may continue with in-person learning at this time. The Level Orange guidance for PreK-12 schools states that remote or hybrid models are suggested, but in-person may continue as appropriate. We are working with MCPH to review our procedures and make any necessary changes to ensure that schools continue to be a safe place to learn and work, so we can continue with in-person learning as long as possible.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment classifies public schools as an essential service, which allows us more flexibility to consider each situation on a case-by-case basis to determine when an individual grade or school might need to temporarily transition to remote learning.

As previously stated, the recent distribution of Chromebooks to students was the culmination of a goal we’ve had since the 2017 bond measure. Being able to provide all students with their own device would help in the event that remote learning is needed, but our priority to have a device for each student existed long before the pandemic. We have every intention to return to in-person learning after Thanksgiving, and are closely monitoring the status of COVID-19 in our community. We are relying upon you, our community, to do your part so schools can stay open.

While this is discouraging for our community, there is still time to change the course. In his update today, Governor Polis called on Coloradans to be especially vigilant about three actionable steps for the rest of the month to protect each person in our community. For the next few weeks, please only socially interact with members of your own household. When you’re around others, keep a distance of at least six feet. And finally, wear a face covering. These three actions are key to keeping the transmission in the community low and, by extension, keeping our schools open.

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