Sept 18 Superintendent Update

September 18 Superintendent Update
Posted on 09/18/2020

Dear D51 Staff & Families,


I want to take a moment to celebrate you and your efforts to keep schools safe and healthy. We are finishing our fifth week of in-person instruction and, between our 25,000 students and staff, have only had six individuals test positive for COVID-19. Things like wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, washing hands, and filling out the symptom tracker have helped us prevent the spread of germs, which will continue to be important as the cold and flu season begins. In the instances where a positive case has been identified, procedures like cohorts and seating charts help us accurately identify close contacts so we don’t have to quarantine entire classes or close entire schools. I know this has been challenging, but your hard work is paying off as we are able to continue in-person learning for our students. 



We will inevitably continue to see cases identified throughout our schools, with many locations having more than one positive case. You should know that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment considers two positive cases in the same building an “outbreak” and will post that information on their website. It’s important to understand that while the word “outbreak” sounds serious, it could be as simple as two individuals who tested positive and are now safely quarantined. In the coming days, you may hear conversations that use the term loosely. Please remember that our procedures are working, and we have accomplished a lot by working together. 


We have a very strong partnership with Mesa County Public Health and are grateful for the guidance and resources they have provided during this time. Many of you have wondered about a district-specific data dashboard to track COVID-19 information in schools. While we appreciate your vigilance, we agree that MCPH should continue to provide that information to ensure accuracy and prevent confusion. 



We have completed the process of shifting staff to either the Online Program, or to other classrooms to help with class sizes. This was a very difficult process as you have had to make adjustments and very challenging decisions. I want to take a moment to acknowledge our incredible staff, who work so hard behind the scenes. This school year has put many more demands on our staff, and I want to acknowledge the incredible work they all do that may not be apparent. We see those efforts and everything they do for our learning community. 



In other good news, the Colorado High School Activities Association announced this week that schools can choose to play football either in the fall or the spring. All four D51 high schools have decided to play football this fall. CHSAA is working to align conferences and will schedule games across the state. We are working with MCPH to determine how many spectators will be able to attend games and will have more information soon. This is exciting news as we have all missed our sports, and I know I am looking forward to seeing students back on the field. 


Just a reminder that there is no school on Monday due to a teacher furlough day, and only high school will be in session on Tuesday while elementary and middle schools conduct conferences. Have a safe weekend.






Dr. Diana Sirko

Superintendent of Schools

Mesa County Valley School District 51

(970) 254-5193

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