Weekly Superintendent Update, Aug. 20

Weekly Superintendent Update, Aug. 20
Posted on 08/20/2021
Dr. Sirko

At the close of the second week of the school year, we are monitoring our numbers of those with illness and looking at the requirements of the Keeping Schools Open Plan. Our Keeping School Open Task Force met again this week with myself, Assistant Superintendent Brian Hill, Tanya Marvin and Katie McKew from D51 Nursing Services to review what practices are working and what may need to be adjusted. There are 32 of us on the task force who come from a variety of backgrounds, including health professionals from St. Mary’s, Community Hospital, Family Health West, and Mesa County Public Health; parents; teachers; other school representatives; and community members. We may not agree on everything, but we all agreed that we want to accomplish two goals this year: keep schools open and keep students and staff healthy. 


Accomplishing these goals is impossible without some protocols. As a reminder, regardless of vaccination status, students or staff who show symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19 will be sent home for 10 days but can return earlier with a resolution of symptoms and a negative COVID-19 test. This protocol is important so that we can stop any potential spread of illness before it starts. Students and staff can get tested at any of the locations listed here. We have also had protocols from the start of the school year for lowering the chances of spreading COVID-19 in a classroom after a cohort member tests positive. In addition, you can find protocols for students who are showing possible symptoms of COVID-19 in the linked Health Office Illness Process sheet.


Data Dashboard Returns

As I mentioned in last week’s letter, the D51 COVID Dashboard returned this Monday and will reflect student and staff case counts for the 2021-22 school year. Remember that numbers of active individuals per day are not all new cases for that day. Data reflects the total number of individuals identified as COVID-positive each day from the time of receiving test results to the end of their 10-day isolation period, and those with COVID-19 will be counted over a number of days, not just once. Schools without an active case are not on the list.


A COVID-positive case reported on this dashboard does not assume the individual contracted COVID while in a school or district facility. COVID-19 can be traced back to many places outside of school, including congregate settings, from family members, private gatherings, public gatherings, places of employment, and through travel. For the most up-to-date information on Category of Exposure, please check the Mesa County Public Health COVID Dashboard.

Strategic Plan

District 51 is working on a Strategic Plan to guide our actions for the future, and we need your input! Some of you may have attended meetings in early 2020 when we originally intended to develop a new D51 Strategic Plan. That data will still be used as a valuable resource for developing the new strategic plan by the end of 2021. However, we want to make sure that the input we received at that time still reflects local goals and values for our schools. Therefore, we will be hosting a series of virtual listening sessions, all from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 (in Spanish)
Sept. 16 (in English)
Sept. 20 (in English)
Sept. 21 (in Spanish)
Sept. 29 (in English)
If you would like to be even more involved in the strategic planning process, please consider applying to become a member of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee (apply here). Applications are due by 4 p.m. next Friday, Aug. 27. Committee members will be selected Aug. 30 and 31 and notified by email on Sept. 1. Steering Committee members must be available for meetings Sept. 9 (5:30-7:00 p.m.), Oct. 7 (5:30-7:00 p.m.), Oct. 21 (5:30-7:30 p.m.), Nov. 11 (5:30-7:00 p.m.) and Nov. 30 (5:30-7:00 p.m.). All meetings except for the final one will take place in person. Click here for more information.

GVT Bus Passes 

Our partners at Grand Valley Transit will again offer free GVT bus passes for D51 middle (need to verify middle school) and high school students this year. In order for your child to receive a free bus pass, you must first fill out a form online. Everything you write on the form is completely secure and confidential. The form will be used to determine TANF eligibility, which will help GVT recoup funding and keep the program going. You or your child can pick up the bus pass (which is a sticker for their student ID) from your child’s school, any Mesa County public library, GVT Downtown or West Transfer Facility.

Nutrition Services Update

Due to staffing shortages in our lunch rooms, students in at least one of our schools are receiving pre-packed sack lunches, which include an entree, fresh fruit and vegetables, and milk. This practice may have to be used at other schools from time to time depending on staffing. If you or anyone you know is interested in a position with Nutrition Services as a permanent employee or a sub, please visit our job postings page.

Stuff the Bus Donation

I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who donated to the Stuff the Bus campaign, either with school supplies or a monetary donation. I was pleased to join the District 51 Foundation, Townsquare Media, and other sponsors earlier this week in presenting a check for $2,135 to our high schools. The high schools, who do not receive school supply donations from Stuff the Bus, will use the funding to purchase supplies their students need. Thank you again to those who donated! 

College Colors!

To celebrate the beginning of the College Football Season next Saturday, August 28, we are encouraging everyone to wear their favorite team’s colors next Friday, August 27! There is nothing like watching the College Game Day program on a Saturday morning to get the weekend started on a positive note!  Don’t forget, you can also celebrate the beginning of our Fall Sports season for our high schools by wearing their colors!

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