BV Schools Monday Minute
Weekly Update for BV Schools
January 10 | 2022
For coming weeks, the District will provide case rates and other information each week. Click the gray button above to go to a spreadsheet. On the upper left you can also toggle to a "chart."
District Updates - COVID
The link to the weekly case chart is linked above. It is a new chart for Semester 2. Previous case charts from Semester 1 for anyone interested are available on the district website.
There is no question, the current COVID context is perplexing. On one hand we understand from our public health to expect we will all likely be infected with Omicron - it is simply that contagious. On the other hand, we still must respond in ways that promote practices that mitigate risk. In a similar way, we have strong messages from state and national leaders for all schools to be in-person, while at the same time have the probability of more people having positive tests, resulting in challenging staffing and learning conditions.
This week, I had the opportunity to spend an hour with Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona and Surgeon General, Admiral Murthy along with other White House staff. In their comments and response to questions from superintendents across the nation, they emphasized the importance of in-person learning for the wellbeing of students. They recognized that testing is a recommended strategy to keep students in school, yet there is a supply shortage likely until February. The shift to a shorter isolation and quarantine, while adding some risk, will help students have access to in-person learning, they said. Most of all, they acknowledged the complexity of responding to COVID for schools and encouraged us to stay the course of in-person learning.
In our local community, we experienced this complexity of having layered strategies to respond to Omicron this week with the reverse 911 call regarding the COVID surge. On one hand, we need to prioritize our efforts to keep our workforce stable and on the other hand prioritize the overall wellbeing and learning of our youth. Our county leaders hold these sometimes competing priorities with the schools. After the county message was released, our local public health director and county commissioners confirmed schools are essential and while our community will be mindful of mitigation, in-person learning remains a priority. Please see the following message from Chaffee County Public Health as clarification to the 911 calls in recent days:
CCPH’s Director, Andrea Carlstrom, has clarified that schools and school activities are considered essential functions in the county and are not being asked to consider transitioning to a virtual format at this time.
We will remain in person. Should we experience staff shortage or high student absences over a period days, a pause or shift to remote learning for a short time may be inevitable.
As has been in our Recovery Plan, masks are used in targeted situations when there is prolonged close contact and individual mask wearing is supported by the district. After returning from quarantine or isolation, mask-wearing for an additional five days is the district protocol and we ask for family responsibility in this mitigation practice.
Last week, a lengthy explanation was provided for our operation protocols this second semester. You can link to this plan below and is always available on our website. This response plan is informed by CDC and considers recommendations in the recently published (Friday, 1/7) CDPHE guidance for schools. It has also been reviewed by our local public health.
Please note, while this Omicron variant surges the next couple of weeks, you will no longer receive an email notification for a routine exposure. The dashboard in this Monday Minute will allow you to see cases in your child's school. With what has shown in data provided by CDC, Omicron is having such high transmissibility, it is likely no matter where we are in the community, there is high probability of exposure. We will re-evaluate in a couple weeks and re-consider notification letters if we find it helpful in mitigation. All of us should be aware of our symptoms during this time as exposure is likely. Once again, our strongest mitigation strategy in school is to stay home when having symptoms.
The way through this is together. Our BV Schools staff has been consistent and persistent throughout these almost two years. We see the value of being here with students and it does not come without a good dose of anxiety. I encourage you to take time this week to express appreciation to a staff member or two for their dedication to keeping a focus on learning.
In closing, you might be interested in an article recently published in the New York Times linked here that further emphasizes the complexity for schools and questions we must ask about our response and the impacts it is having on students.
Weekly Zoom Meetings continue each Monday at 5:00 pm for additional information or questions about Recovery practices or other District items. See end of newsletter for link to join.
School Board Appreciation Month
With appreciation to:
Suzette Hachmann, President
Brett Mitchell, Vice President
Tracy Storms, Secretary
Jessica Crites, Treasurer
Weekly Zoom Meeting for Families
Each Monday, BV Schools will host a virtual meeting at 5:00 pm. This is open to all families to hear more about the status of learning in the school and to ask questions.
Join through the link below or by going to ZOOM and entering: 821 3222 5223