Weekly Superintendent Update, Aug. 13

Weekly Superintendent Update, Aug. 13
Posted on 08/13/2021
Dr. Sirko photo

I hope you all had a wonderful first week of school! Thanks for all your work in getting your child ready for school with the proper school supplies and other requests. A big thanks to the D51 Foundation and our Rotary clubs for their abundant school supply contributions. We all know that those costs can add up, so we appreciate their help!
I have enjoyed visiting many schools this week and seeing the joy in children’s faces as they return from summer break and settle into their new classrooms. The positivity in schools has been amazing to witness. I also want to thank our middle school parents for your patience with starting school on Aug. 11 so that middle school teachers could engage in Capturing Kids’ Hearts professional development, which I’m sure will make a huge difference in school climate and the bond between students and educators. As I am visiting schools, I hear many positive things from staff and principals regarding how much they appreciated the professional development and their excitement regarding the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program and what they see as the potential for this school year. In one of the middle schools I visited today, I witnessed some of the strategies taking place with students writing positive affirmations to their classmates and teachers.
I know that there is anxiety about COVID-19 and the delta variant, and I want to remind everyone that masks are still highly recommended, especially but not exclusively for our unvaccinated families and staff, in order to provide an extra layer of protection. We remain vigilant and will continue to monitor conditions and adjust the Keeping Schools Open Plan  accordingly. I have reconvened the Keeping Schools Open Task Force, and we will be meeting weekly for the time being to share successes and examine any possible changes.
Additionally, the COVID-19 Data Dashboard will return on Monday, Aug. 16, on d51schools.org. Please note that not all cases reported on the dashboard reflect infection in a school setting - some students were marked absent from the start of school due to COVID-19 and have not been in school while positive for COVID-19.
Protocols When a Staff Member or Student has COVID-19

The following information was included in a link in last week’s email and details what happens when one or more people in a classroom or cohort test positive for COVID-19. It is important information, and we want to make sure you see it, so it is included again below. You can also view a flowchart of this information here.
When a student or staff member within a cohort or class tests positive for COVID-19, the COVID-positive person will need to stay home for 10 days. Protocols for classmates vary by level.

Elementary Protocols
After 1 positive case in a classroom cohort:

* Other members of the classroom cohort will receive an exposure letter.

* The school will monitor for symptoms.

* All members of the classroom cohort (vaccinated or unvaccinated) will need to wear a mask for 14 days from the last day of contact with the positive case to avoid potential spread.

* Students and staff will not be quarantined.

After 3 positive cases within 14 days in a classroom cohort:

* The classroom cohort will be declared a potential outbreak.

* All members of the classroom cohort will be quarantined.

* Fully vaccinated staff members will not have to quarantine and can teach remotely from their classroom.

Secondary (Middle/High School)
After 1 positive case in a class:

* Other members of the class will receive an exposure letter.

* The school will monitor for symptoms.

* Students and staff will not be quarantined.
 After 3 positive cases within 14 days in a class:

* Students and staff within that class will be required to receive a negative COVID test to remain in school.

* Unvaccinated students and staff who do not provide a negative test result will need to quarantine.

* Proof of student and staff vaccination will avoid the need for testing.
After 5 positive cases within 14 days in a class:

* The class will be declared an outbreak.

* All members of the class will be quarantined. 

* Non-symptomatic, fully vaccinated students and staff will not be required to quarantine. 
If there is uncontrolled, wide-spread transmission in any grade, school, or activity group, K-12:

* Widespread transmission will be determined through partnership of Mesa County Public Health and D51. They will look at the following factors: inability to distinguish clusters and high incidence rate.

* Increased blanketed layers of protection will be implemented, such as quarantining entire grades or schools.

2021 Bond Measure
On Tuesday, the District 51 Board of Education voted to place a bond measure on the Nov. 2, 2021, ballot. If passed, the $115 million bond measure will be paired with a $10 million Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant from the state and $19.5 million in remaining funds from the 2017 Bond Measure. That funding combined would be used to rebuild Grand Junction High School. The project would include preserving the school’s east gym and the art building, which are newer parts of campus. To learn more about the ballot language and see updates throughout the fall, please see our website.
We’re Hiring!
If you are looking for a job, District 51 is a great place to apply! We have several openings for food service workers, custodians, special education personnel, subs, and other positions. Many jobs in D51 offer great benefits and flexibility for parents with days off when your student has a day off. Please check out our job postings at www.applitrack.com/d51schools/onlineapp
In addition, our busing contractor, Student Transportation of America, is one of many busing companies across the country experiencing a shortage of drivers. If you are interested in a bus driving position, please contact them at 970-697-1050.

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