Weekly Superintendent Update, July 16

Weekly Superintendent Update, July 16
Posted on 07/16/2021
Photo of Diana Sirko

School District 51 has finalized plans for the coming school year based on guidance from Mesa County Public Health, the Colorado Department of Education, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Governor’s office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Education, and input from families and staff members of D51, Colorado Mesa University, and local hospitals. Please read below to learn more about 2021-22 protocols.

2021-22 Back to School Protocols

The coming school year will still have many health and safety procedures in buildings, including daily disinfection of facilities, running ventilation systems longer than normal to increase the flow of fresh air in buildings, and encouraging students and staff to practice good hygiene, such as hand washing and using hand sanitizer. Cohorting is still encouraged to help with contact tracing. Physical distancing of at least 3 ft. is still encouraged, especially among unvaccinated people. Online education will still be offered through Grand River Academy.

While some things will remain the same, there are some differences planned for this school year:
Face coverings - Face coverings will not be required for students, staff, or visitors but are heavily encouraged for anyone who is unvaccinated. If a parent wants their child to wear a mask, they are welcome to do so.
Symptom Tracker - The Daily Symptom Tracker will no longer be used. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home.
Quarantine procedures - People who are unvaccinated and live in the same household as a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine, according to Mesa County Public Health guidelines.
Procedures for those with COVID-19 - Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be asked by Mesa County Public Health to isolate at home for 10 days.
Vaccination - To reiterate what was said in my previous letters this summer, COVID-19 vaccination is not required for students and staff. It is a personal choice, though one that has been proven effective in protecting people from contracting or becoming severely ill from COVID-19, including variants.
It’s important to note that these protocols are subject to change based on changing caseloads. Some protocols may be loosened or protocols from the past may return depending on the local COVID-19 situation. You can see a copy of the full Keeping Schools Open Plan in the Recent News section of d51schools.org.

Middle School Aug. 11 start date

As announced to middle school parents in an email earlier this month, Bookcliff, East, Fruita, Grand Mesa, Mt. Garfield, Orchard Mesa, Redlands, and West middle schools will start school on Aug. 11 instead of Aug. 9. Kindergarten and Summit School Program will also start Aug. 11. All other elementary grades, high schools, and Fruita 8/9 will start on Aug. 9 as planned.

This later start for middle schools will allow middle school teachers to participate in a training with Capturing Kids’ Hearts, a program that will contribute to an improved climate and culture for learning in our schools. Based on the number of suicides and suicide attempts, we felt it was important to introduce this excellent program at the beginning of the school year.  The training is in demand nationwide and Aug. 9-10 was the earliest the company could provide us with enough trainers to bring it to Mesa County. We hope to eventually expand the training to more levels.

School Supplies

School supply lists and student fees for 2021-22 have been updated and posted at d51schools.org. Lists are also available at City Market, Office Depot, Safeway, Target, and Walmart. Please do not bring baby wipes for your student (unless your child wears diapers)l, as these are not approved cleaning supplies. Schools also will not be taking donations of disinfectant wipes. The district will provide schools with all disinfecting supplies.


COVIDCheck Colorado site moves

The COVIDCheck Colorado testing site in the parking lot at Fruita Monument High School is closing today, July 16, and will move over the weekend to the Fruita 8/9 parking lot. The Fruita 8/9 testing site will open on Monday, July 19. COVIDCheck Colorado also packed up its COVID-19 testing site in the Grand Mesa Middle School parking lot earlier this month and relocated to the south parking lot at Central High School. The testing site is now open in its new location. All COVIDCheck Colorado testing is free and open to the public.

I do recognize that there will be those of you who do not agree with our Back to School plan and am happy to visit with you about it, if needed. We look forward to the start of a new school year! There is always something special about this time of the school year and we appreciate you letting us serve your students!

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