West Grand School District administrators and Board members held three community open-houses last Friday, presenting current strategies and answering questions about reopening plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Proposed actions include daily health checks for students and staff, social distancing measures, mask-wearing, and cohorting to reduce contact numbers.
On Monday, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) released new guidelines for reopening, dependent on the public health phase of a community. Guidance is specific to K-5, 6-8, and 9-12th grades. It varies from normal class sizes with cohorting and restricted staff contact during the Protect-Your-Neighbor phase to remote learning during the Stay-at-Home phase, with strict cohorting exceptions only for students with specific in-person learning needs.
“We’re continuing to collect feedback from the community,” assured District Superintendent Dr. Darrin Peppard, “and watching closely what’s happening with Public Health.”
“[Grand County is] now at high disease presence,” reported Public Health Medical Director Dr. Darcy Selenke on Tuesday. She urged, “It’s really important we get schools back online. We’ve got to get disease spread back to medium and low for the good of us moving forward.”
The CDE indicates that local public health agencies may declare the phase for their area, though state approval is needed for Protect-Your-Neighbor. The guidance toolkit will continue to be updated in coming weeks. More school guidance will be presented to the State Board of Education and Colorado legislators on Friday morning. Stay updated about guidance, rationale, and goals at www.cde.state.co.us/planning20-21/healthguidancebycovidphase.