May 7 Superintendent Update

Weekly Superintendent Update, May 7
Posted on 05/07/2021

Dear District 51 Families and Staff:


We’re in the homestretch of the school year, with only two weeks to go! Please keep using the Symptom Tracker each morning here and, visit our D51 Data Dashboard for the latest information about COVID-19 numbers in District 51. We are seeing an uptick in cases, particularly in younger students and others who are not vaccinated, and it may impact how we approach the next school year. Please continue to wear your mask and stay home if you’re sick, so we can keep our schools a healthy place to learn and work. 


COVID-19 Variant in Mesa County

Mesa County Public Health announced on Thursday that a COVID-19 variant first identified in India this winter has cropped up for the first time in Colorado, with five cases right here in Mesa County. COVID-19 hospitalization rates are increasing locally, and variants like these are spreading more widely in places like Mesa County that have lower adult vaccination rates. Vaccines are free, effective, and readily available in Mesa County to anyone 16 or older. Children do get COVID and they can get very sick, especially from some of the variants currently present in the United States - please help protect all children in Mesa County and consider getting vaccinated. I know getting vaccinated is a personal choice but would love for you to consider it as so far the vaccines have been effective against these variants, and our students don’t have the choice of vaccinating against COVID. If you will help all of us get to herd immunity as a community, it would be greatly appreciated. You can walk into a Walgreens or Target to get one, as well as the Mesa County Health Department bus! If you do not, please continue to wear a face covering and take advantage of the free testing sites available through June in the parking lots at Grand Mesa Middle School and Fruita Monument High School.


COVID-19 Grant Funding

With school districts across the U.S. receiving federal funding specifically for COVID-related purposes such as learning loss recovery and personal protective equipment (PPE), you may be wondering how District 51 is using its share of these dollars. So far, District 51 has received $14.2 million total from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. This is one-time funding. There will be two more rounds of ESSER funding, which will contribute to programs like Summer Extension, social-emotional supports, remediation, and more.


So far, COVID relief dollars have been used to staff the D51 Online school; provide COVID-related staff training; purchase PPE; provide technology hardware and software; gather supplies for special education and custodial departments; purchase health and safety equipment, such as air filtration machines, hand-washing and hydration stations, and health office equipment; have subs fill in for absences related to COVID; increase counseling and tutoring services; and have more nurses and health assistants at school for longer periods of time.


Adaptive Physical Education Changes

Over the next year, D51 Adaptive P.E. services will be evolving into a more inclusive model of physical education. Students on Individualized Education Plans will always have access to physical education that fits their abilities. During this transition, two of our four Adaptive Physical Education teachers will remain over the next year to work with special needs teachers to prepare for the transition, and one adaptive physical education teacher will remain on permanently as an adaptive physical education consultant focused on integrating children into physical education classes with their peers as much as possible. Making these changes will lead to physical education programming that welcomes all students into physical activities with their peers and reallocate resources to areas that need strengthening, such as preschool special education and services for our special needs adult students transitioning to life after school.  


Staff Appreciation

As we wrap up this week of Teacher Appreciation, I want to take a moment to thank all of our staff groups for their hard work this year. Opening schools this year would not have been possible without the collective effort of our teachers, nurses and health assistants (School Nurse Day is May 12!), custodians, secretaries, nutrition services workers, maintenance and grounds staff, support staff, principals, bus drivers, technology, human resources, safety and security, and so many others. It truly takes a village, and it’s a pleasure to work with you all!! 

Warm regards,



Dr. Diana Sirko

Superintendent of Schools

Mesa County Valley School District 51

(970) 254-5193


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