Sept 25 Superintendent Update

September 25 Superintendent Update
Posted on 09/25/2020

Dear D51 Staff & Families,


As this unusual year continues to unfold, we will keep sending these weekly updates to keep you informed as much as possible with new details from the week. I appreciate your continued patience during this crucial time of change and adaptation. 


COVID-19

With over 25,000 staff and students in District 51, we were prepared for the reality that positive cases would be identified in schools. Mesa County Public Health will continue to update their data dashboard to include those cases, and we still believe that having our own dashboard may cause some confusion. Because there is a concern that we are not being transparent enough, going forward, these letters will contain a weekly update on positive cases that have been identified during the week. 


Since we began school on August 17, we have seen a total of 18 positive cases in staff and students. 7 of those cases were identified this week. Remember, in some situations, we may temporarily close a school or classroom with only one positive case as a precautionary measure if enough members of the school or classroom have been exposed. In other situations, some of these positive cases were identified in individuals who had not been to a school recently, so no quarantine was necessary. If you or your child’s classroom was affected, you would have received a notification telling you that there was a possible exposure with an infectious person. 


COVID-19 is a public health concern that affects our entire community, and curiosity and questions are natural. We have a very close partnership with MCPH in our approach to responding to positive cases. When an individual tests positive for COVID-19, MCPH notifies our nursing staff so we can begin the contact tracing process immediately. D51 staff will use existing seating charts and cohort information and work with the individual to identify close contacts from the last few days at school-related events. MCPH will do contact tracing to identify close contacts outside of school. The people identified during the contact tracing process will receive an alert from MCPH with more information. High-risk contacts will be asked to quarantine for 14 calendar days as a precaution and continue to monitor their symptoms. Lower-risk contacts will be notified, but might not need to quarantine if physical distancing and other precautions were in place. 


In most cases, a quarantine will require a small amount of staff and students to move to remote learning for the 14 days, where learning will transition to an online format until you can return to in-person.


HIspanic Heritage Month

We’re excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which officially runs from September 15 through October 15. Many of our students and community members are contributing to a project to share stories and resources that celebrate Hispanic Heritage in our community. Please take a moment to check out the resources here, or by visiting d51schools.org. This is part of an initiative to raise cultural awareness and celebrate the diversity of our community, and we hope to have more projects like this in the future.


Meals for all students

I also want to remind you that, because of special funding from the US Department of Agriculture, we are able to provide school breakfast and lunch to ALL D51 students for no additional cost through December. This opportunity also extends to D51 students enrolled in the online program. Families can coordinate with their school to pick up meals each day. Please check our COVID-19 FAQ page for more information. 


Athletics

Our athletic department has been working hard to make football a reality for this fall. Our first game will be on October 9, and each school will have a six-game season. Seating at the stadium will be limited, so tickets must be purchased online prior to the game using a unique code that will be emailed to students and parents. We are also finalizing streaming options for our high school athletics, so watch for that information coming soon. 


Preschool

As you talk with friends and others in the community, please help us spread the word that our preschool program still has space for 4-year-olds who meet certain qualifications. Families are welcome to fill out an application at our Early Childhood Education Department located at 410 Hill Avenue. If you have any questions, please contact them at 970-254-5429. 


I want to thank you for yet another week of successful learning, both in-person and online. I know this has been a challenging situation for us all in different ways. Please continue to fill out your symptom tracker, stay home if you’re ill, wash your hands regularly, practice physical distancing, and wear your mask. With only 18 cases in our schools, these procedures are working, and we want to stay the course so our students can remain in-person. 


Thank you, and have a safe weekend.



Sincerely,

 

Diana

 

Dr. Diana Sirko

Superintendent of Schools

Mesa County Valley School District 51

(970) 254-5193

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