Special Edition, October 2020
Superintendent's Update: COVID & Inclement Weather Plans
Hello, and Welcome to the Second Quarter!
As we suspected, the start to this school year has been unlike any other. I want to thank our students, families, staff, and community for your continued support as we navigate these interesting times. Our students and staff members continue to be diligent in their efforts to keep our learning environments safe and clean and I am very proud of the work we are doing in D11. I want to provide you with a couple of updates on two topics that remain at the top of people's minds.
The first is our update on the rising COVID numbers in our county. As we continue to be vigilant monitoring the El Paso County Public Health data, we are seeing some unfortunate trends in the numbers of incidence, which is the primary measure of COVID-19 disease in the community. Lower numbers of incidence are better, however for over the last 14 days, this number has continued to rise. Currently, the rate of positive COVID tests (PCR) has also been increasing, as well as the number of hospitalizations in our county over the past two weeks.
While the county’s COVID-19 dial remains on the Safer at Home: Level One status, we learned during a joint City/County press conference that our level one status may be in jeopardy if we can't reverse this trending data. Please know, we will strive to give families as much notice as possible if significantly more restrictive measures are put into place, aiming for as much as two weeks’ notice. In the meantime, you may view the County’s COVID-10 Dial Framework by clicking here.
We are committed to the safety of students and staff. As you may be aware, our preventative efforts in D11 are helping to address COVID-19 cases in our district. Since July, our infection rate is less than one percent, which is significantly better than our county’s. All cases have come from outside of the District with no transmission in our schools. For full transparency, we also created our own COVID-19 dashboard for each school site so our community can stay informed about quarantines, positive cases, etc. You can find this information here www.d11.org/coviddashboard.
In an effort for us to minimize COVID-19 in our schools, we need the community to do their part.
We ask that you adhere to the safety guidance in our local community, which will allow us to keep our schools open and safe. We are committed to keeping our schools open, which is why we join other area school districts in the region in launching the #WhatIsYourHopeCOS joint public service campaign, sharing the hopes of our students, staff, and families to be able to return to full time in-person learning and school-related activities. You'll see quotes and pictures shared on our social media feeds and our website with these messages, asking everyone in our community to please adhere to the public safety recommendations of our county and state health officials, so we all may help keep our children in school.
Inclement Weather Plan Update:
I've been getting many questions about what the District's plans will be for inclement weather. This has been a hot topic in many of our leadership meetings, so I want to share what has been discussed to date. We will soon be bringing forward to the Board of Education a suggested change to the inclement weather policy. In the recommended plans, the Board will consider leaving the standard two-hour delay process in place, as it has been in the past. However, for what traditionally has been full, district-wide closures due to weather, the recommendation will be that those days will become asynchronous e-learning days, with all staff expected to work remotely as appropriate, instructional staff holding set remote office hours for students, and students completing assigned work independently (asynchronously). Please be watching for an update to this process once the Board of Education approves any changes to the inclement weather policy.
I am confident that together, we will successfully get through all of this. Again I thank everyone in our community for your commitment to D11 and the efforts you are taking to keeping our students and staff safe.
Yours in Partnership,
Dr. Michael J. Thomas, Superintendent