Many of you may have noticed a number of school districts have shuttered their doors for the next few weeks due to the COVID-19 epidemic poised to spread throughout the country. Perhaps you've also noticed the Cañon City Fremont RE-1 School District is not on any of those lists.
Thanks to the commencement of our annual Spring Break, we've resisted making a quick decision. Instead, we've chosen to take a few days to follow events, consider our options, and huddle with Fremont County's public health officials before determining our best course of action.
We promise to communicate our plan for the week of March 22-28 by the end of the day Wednesday, March 18th. In doing so we'll place core belief number one at the forefront of all our decision making, we meet the social-emotional needs of all students, putting Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs before Bloom’s Taxonomy. We’ll also keep in mind the following:
On March 11th the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued minimum guidelines about when a school MUST close should a verified case of COVID-19 emerge. They are as follows:
Upon the first verified case of staff or student infection in a particular school, a 72-hour closure is required.
Upon the second verified case of staff or student infection in a particular school, an additional 72-hour closure is required.
Upon the third verified case of staff or student infection in a particular school, a 14-day closure is required.
Finally, any district with 3 verified cases in a 30-day period = a 14-day closure.
As evidenced by yesterday's announcements, many school districts, despite not yet having a single verified COVID-19 case, seek to support their communities in staving off a rapid escalation of the virus that could place undue stress on their local health provider system. This strategy of lengthening the time span during which the virus spreads is referred to as "flattening the curve." Please know, if our local health officials advise us to take such a measure, we will certainly comply.
In the meantime, parents of our Kindergarten through 5th graders should note their children came home yesterday with a packet of schoolwork they can use if we have to extend our spring break. Please, please, please, set this classwork on a shelf at home for now and let your children run, play, and break away from traditional learning while we are on spring break. We'll communicate with you if and when we need you to support your child's learning by turning their attention to it.
For grade 6-12 students, thanks to the community's kind support of our mill override ballot question in November 2017 our teaching staff is ready to continue instruction in an online fashion. This won't replace the many wonderful person-to-person interactions that take place in our buildings on a daily basis. However, we believe it will keep each student moving forward academically.
On a related note, if you know a grade 6-12 child who has no internet access, please reach out to us at 719-276-5700. We'll do all we can to ensure each one has an equal opportunity to learn. As a citizen of our community, you might also assist us by requesting our local internet service providers offer free or low-cost access during this crisis.
We can't thank you enough for trusting us with your most precious commodity, and we look forward to working with you as we navigate this challenging situation.
George S. Welsh