October 15th, 2021
I have been wanting to start a blog since arriving in Dolores and am finally getting some time to do so. My intent is to write a weekly blog with the exception of Holiday breaks. My blog will typically address the latest “hot topic” or goings-on in the district with an occasional quote or story thrown in. My goal is to be informative with some intermixed humor; so with that said, here goes:
Many of you have asked me about our Covid protocols, the wellness committee, and how decisions are being made in changing the colors: I was tasked, by the Board, back in August to form a committee and develop our district Covid Protocols. I told the Board during discussions about a recent walk with my dog, Bernie, and what I had come across. You’ve seen it a million times, but being new to Colorado it was new to me, and that’s the color chart at the fire station showing the fire danger in the region – green, blue, yellow, orange and red. As the color goes up so does the danger threat. So I thought to myself why not use the same colors and significance that the community of Dolores has been using for years? Bernie and I both agreed that it would be a good idea.
When forming the committee, I did some research in our Board Policies and found that a “Wellness Committee” already existed, so I decided to revive the committee and begin our task of developing the protocols. So who is on the committee? Originally, our director of curriculum and instruction, a principal, the three counselors, two parents, our school nurse, two teachers and myself. After our first meeting we realized that we needed all the principals, so the others were added. Our goal was to develop levels of threat (colors) and how we should respond to each level. We needed quick access to real data and it was decided to use indicators from the county and indicators from the number of positive cases in preschool, elementary, and secondary. We knew green was “everything was great” and red was “it’s bad and we’re moving to remote learning”, it’s the colors in the middle that were much harder to determine. After 3 separate meetings and over seven hours of deliberation we were ready to take our protocol to the Board for adoption, and they were eventually adopted. Part of our goal was to allow the Board to adopt a plan where we didn’t have to keep going back to the Board every time something changed. We needed a plan where we could act fast to minimize the threat and keep students and adults as safe as possible. A plan where, if enacted correctly, would keep kids in school as much as possible – that was our main goal – keep everyone safe and keep kids in school with face-to-face learning as much as possible.
As you are now aware, our numbers spiked tremendously on our original homecoming week and raised our color at the secondary school to Orange. We had a number of teachers at both elementary and secondary that were quarantined and we at one time were up to over 35 positive cases and 170 students quarantined. The wellness committee met and knew we needed to move to remote learning for the secondary, and after two classes had been quarantined at the elementary, that decision became apparent as well. We tried our best to keep the preschool open, but soon had two teachers test positive and on Saturday we ended up moving to remote learning for the entire district.
On coming back to school on October 4th, we only had 6 students out who had tested positive, almost all of our teachers were back, and face to face learning continued. While we are not perfect and there are parts of our plan that need some work, over-all, we think the district protocols served the district well.
You can find the protocols on our district website at the top of the homepage, please go check them out if you have not. Please, keep yourself safe and use proper precautions when indoors or around large crowds; we are still in a highly contagious stage in our county. And finally, if you have any questions or comments, e-mail me. If You or I find anything that I inadvertently missed, I’ll be sure to update this page.
Yours in education,