Weekly Superintendent Update, Nov. 12

Weekly Superintendent Update, Nov. 12
Posted on 11/12/2021
Dr. Sirko photo

This week has been full of notable moments, including Tope Elementary School celebrating its 80th birthday, Palisade High School playing in the state volleyball playoffs, and numerous Veterans Day events in our schools on Thursday. It is important for students to be part of these events and recognize the importance of Veterans Day. We have many students who enter the military, parents in the military, and staff members who are veterans and parents of active duty military and veterans. I want to thank you all for your service!

More excitement comes this weekend with Fruita Monument and Palisade each competing in the state football playoffs and a Board Coffee happening tomorrow (more information below).

Board Coffee

The D51 Board of Education will host another Board Coffee at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Nov. 13, in Room 222 at the Colorado Mesa University Center. The Board of Education resumed Board Coffee meetings last month and welcomes anyone who is interested in having a conversation with board members to attend. Current and remaining board members Doug Levinson and Kari Sholtes will be there tomorrow, and future Board Coffees with the new board (to be seated Nov. 30) are already tentatively scheduled for Dec. 18 and Jan. 15. Free coffee and cookies will be provided.

Binax Testing Update

Earlier this week, we announced to staff that the in-school Binax COVID-19 testing system is now available to D51 school employees. This free, voluntary program is not yet available to students until a third-party administrator  irons out some details in the registration system. We hope to expand the Binax testing system at schools to include students as soon as this is resolved. This program is a partnership with the state and uses zero D51 funding.

If they so choose, staff members who experience COVID-like symptoms while at school can take a Binax rapid test without having to leave the building. Before testing, staff must first register and consent to testing here. Tests will be administered by trained school nurses and health assistants, and results will be ready in just 15 minutes. Staff who do not want to be tested through this program, staff who do not work primarily in a single school, and students and community members can still access testing through Mesa County Public Health at the fairgrounds or a local COVIDCheck Colorado site.

COVIDCheck Colorado move

The COVIDCheck Colorado testing site in the Central High School parking lot has been relocated to Long Family Memorial Park. Today is the first day of testing at the new site, which is tentatively scheduled to operate through March 2022 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There are no changes at this time to the COVIDCheck Colorado testing site in the Fruita 8/9 parking lot.

Nutrition Services shortages

Five of our schools - Appleton, Fruitvale, Rocky Mt., and Tope elementary schools and Fruita Middle School - are currently serving a limited menu through at least next Friday due to staffing shortages. While a couple schools here and there have had limited menus due to staffing shortages this year, five is unprecedented. Unfortunately, D51 continues to be impacted by the staffing issues facing districts nationwide, and our kitchens and cafeterias are heavily impacted. Some staffing issues are temporary due to illness or quarantining, but others may be long-term, as some staff are quitting due to exhaustion or seeking other employment. We need your help - if you or someone you know is looking for a permanent or sub job, please visit d51schools.org and apply now for open positions. 

Volunteers are also welcome, if you are unable to take on a new job at this time. Volunteers can serve meals, but not work in the kitchens doing meal prep. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer server, please email Volunteer Coordinator April Hart at [email protected].
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