Superintendent update 11-6

Superintendent Update, 11/6
Posted on 11/06/2020
Dear D51 Staff and Families,

I appreciate your continued patience during this crucial time of change and adaptation.

Each week, we will continue to provide an update on how many positive cases of COVID-19 were identified throughout the week. Since our last update, 44 cases have been identified in staff and students. These cases were identified in the following buildings: Bookcliff Middle School, Central High School, Dual Immersion Academy, Fruita Monument High School, Grand Junction High School, Grand Mesa Middle School, the Grounds Department, Independence Academy, New Emerson Elementary, Orchard Mesa Middle School, Palisade High School, R5 High School, Taylor Elementary, Thunder Mountain Elementary, Valley School, and Wingate Elementary.

I’m sure many of you are growing more concerned with the amount of quarantine and exposure notifications. Remember that:
- Quarantine is a precautionary measure for those notified that they were in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, and should limit their contact with anyone in case they might be contagious.

- Isolation is for students or staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, and should not come into contact with anyone until they recover.

- An Exposure Notification is a general notification to let you know that there was a positive case in a building, but is not necessarily a cause for concern because those directly affected have been instructed to quarantine.

Remember that a single positive case sets off a chain reaction of events, which usually results in several staff and students being quarantined. Quarantine does not mean that they have COVID-19. Quarantine is a measure to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in the event someone becomes symptomatic. While the quarantines might seem extensive, they are crucial to preventing staff and students from catching COVID-19 while at school.

Through contact tracing, we’re finding that those who test positive for COVID-19 are not catching the virus at school. Rather, they’re catching it elsewhere in the community. Our focus is to keep it out of schools as much as possible, but community transmission will have a direct effect on schools. Again, I cannot overstate the individual responsibility all of us have in our daily lives to follow health guidance, which will in turn help us keep our schools open.

While I’m troubled by the move to Level Orange of Safer at Home, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has said that schools are considered a critical service, which gives us hope for continuing in-person learning. We truly believe that the benefits of in-person learning are crucial for many of our students. We are working closely with Mesa County Public Health to consider all quarantine and temporary closure decisions one at a time. I wanted to share this statement from Mesa County Public Health about our partnership:

“Mesa County Public Health remains committed to working with D51 to continue in-person learning. Educational institutions are considered a critical service and therefore can continue to provide in-person learning as necessary. We are addressing COVID-related situations one at a time, and we have seen success minimizing transmission within our schools.”

You may wonder how the Orange Level affects athletics. Football will continue, however, fewer spectators will be able to attend. We will continue with pre-game ticket sales that will be prioritized to families of players first, and any remaining tickets will then be available for members of the community to purchase. Unfortunately, all indoor athletics have been cancelled at this time. We do not yet know what this may mean for Winter Sports. I am sure that CHSAA will be looking at that very soon.

Thank you and have a restful and safe weekend.



Dr. Diana Sirko
Superintendent of Schools
Mesa County Valley School District 51
(970) 254-5193
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