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Dear Parents and Community,
It’s hard to believe that we are completing our third week of online learning. I am so appreciative of all of the hard work and creativity that all of you have put in to create online learning and engagement opportunities for all of our students. In addition to our core courses, our teachers and counselors are offering different opportunities for students to explore areas of interest and continue connections with teachers, counselors, and other students. Our nutrition services team has also been hard at work serving meals to students and families and we are serving an average of over 650 lunches and breakfast meals per day.
As most of you have heard the Governor’s Office issued a directive on Monday that officially closed all school buildings in the state through the end of the school year. The state association of athletics (CHSAA) also cancelled all spring sports seasons so there will be no spring sports this year. This means that we will be continuing our online learning through the end of the year. We wanted to provide you with some important updates as we continue our online learning through the end of the year.
Our goal is to work together to meet all of our students’ needs to the best of our abilities during this time and to continue to improve our online instruction. Your feedback and engagement are critical to helping us do that so please take the time to fill out our parent and family survey when you receive it. Our teachers and staff will continue to work with you to understand your needs and help answer your questions and provide support so we can move forward together.
Thank you and be well,
Lori Haukeness, Superintendent
Dear Parents and Community,
Things are rapidly changing in our world and community, but I am proud to say that we are rising to meet these unexpected challenges as a community and district. We have been meeting regularly with our county partners and there is a high level of community cooperation and working together to address the challenges posed by COVID. We have also been working together as a district team with district leadership, principals, teacher leaders, and directors to create the plans that we will need to move us forward. As most of you have heard the Governor’s Office issued a directive that officially closed all school buildings in the state through April 17th, but this closure could extend much longer and we need to plan for all possibilities.
Our board met at a special meeting on Tuesday and we agreed to officially start online school on April 6th. This will allow our teachers time to plan and allow the district time to set up supports for families in accessing technology and internet. Here are some important updates on our plans:
Our students are the heartbeat of our schools and community and we are missing seeing our students’ faces in our schools. We are excited to reconnect with our students online beginning April 6th. We know this will be a new experience for all of us and we are working to make this new way of learning meaningful to your students but we also recognize that parents are juggling many different priorities right now. Our teachers and staff will be working with you to understand your needs and help answer your questions and provide support so we can move forward together. You will receive additional communication from your school's principal with more information on these important topics as we move forward.
Thank you and be well,
Based on the Governor’s press conference this morning, we have reason to believe that we are looking at an extended closure of our school buildings (this does NOT mean that there will be no school). We are in the planning process for how we will offer ongoing online school and learning opportunities to our students (as well as meals and other supports). This also means that all sports and extracurricular activities (including prom) are postponed until further notice. We will post additional updates on Facebook and on the district website as soon as they become available.
We want to thank our parents, students, staff, and community for your flexibility and patience while we work with our community partners and each other to address the COVID-19 virus pandemic that is impacting our world, country, and state. We hope you all are staying home as much as you can and spending some unexpected time with your families and resting. Staying home right now helps slow the spread of the virus and can help reduce the future impact in our community and on our health care system.
If you have questions about the COVID-19 virus please contact the Montezuma County Health Department at (970) 564-4799.
Issued March 14th by the Montezuma Cortez School District School Board of Education and Superintendent in consultation with Montezuma County Public Health Department
As many of you know, school districts around the country and state are making the difficult decision to close school for an extended spring break in response to the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus. Governor Polis has not yet directed a statewide closure in Colorado. However, the RE-1 Superintendent and school board, in consultation with the Montezuma County Public Health Department, made the decision today to extend spring break and close all schools from March 16th to March 27th, 2020. During that time, essential personnel will receive enhanced training to do the important disinfecting that needs to be done to ensure the buildings are ready for students to return. We will be monitoring this situation daily, at a minimum, and will share any updates or changes to this plan as they become available.
Montezuma County Public Health Department and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are the best resources for current information about the Coronavirus, and as of the time of this statement, there are no confirmed cases in Montezuma County.
Montezuma-Cortez District leadership will work with Montezuma County Public Health on an ongoing basis to re-evaluate the situation and share any updates about changes as they become available. These updates will be posted on our websites and social media and important information will be communicated directly to parents and staff. Staff and parents will also receive additional communication from Superintendent Haukeness with more information how this extended spring break will impact staff and what supports may be available for families.
We are committed to working together with our community members to protect our friends and neighbors who may be most at risk due to this illness. We are also committed to taking steps as a school district to support our staff, students, and families’ health and safety. As a community, we have always taken care of each other in challenging times and this virus provides an opportunity for us to continue that tradition by following state and local directives and taking personal and community steps to limit the impact of this virus.
District Statement on COVID-19 and State Directives on School Closure – March 13, 2020
The district is committed to supporting the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. As of today, March 13, 2020 there are no known cases in our area. However, we are implementing our COVID plan in collaboration with the county cross-agency emergency coordination team. As we shared previously, we are implementing enhanced procedures in all our schools right now for disinfecting schools and buses, screening anyone who may be sick and sending them home, educating our staff and students on steps they can take to prevent the spread of colds and flu, and cancelling events, activities, and travel. We all have a chance to work together to help lessen the impact of COVID on our community.
The district is aware that schools in other parts of our state or country have been ordered to close by Governors or local municipalities based on the presence of known corona virus (COVID-19) cases and/or the health department’s assessment of risk in those areas. We also recognize the challenges for parents, students, and community in closing schools, so we want to ensure we are making those difficult decisions in our community based on the guidance provided by the state and local health departments. The guidance we received from the Governor’s Office and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regarding school closure is as follows (full guidance is posted on our website):
Colorado State ordered closure criteria for schools
· Other factors to consider when making decisions to close one or more schools, include:
The state directives for school closure are based on known cases of COVID-19 in a community and school. As of 5:00pm today (3.13.2020) there are no known cases of COVID in our community, although this may change in the future. The situation with the COVID virus is evolving and we are in regular communication with the state as well as our local county cross-agency coordination and emergency management team. We will be reassessing this situation daily, at a minimum, and providing updates regularly on our website and on social media. In the event of a school or district closure all parents will receive a phone call from the district.
Please continue to follow guidance from the local health department to take personal actions to slow the spread of the virus in our state in order to protect the more vulnerable members of our community and our health care workers https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/covid-19-recommendations
The district superintendent, in consultation with the board, made the decision today to cancel all sports, sports practices, extracurricular activities (band, theatre, choir, etc), and community events in our facilities for 21 days, effective today, March 12, 2020. The district leadership did not make this decision lightly, but we feel a responsibility to follow guidance and directives we are receiving regarding reducing the risk of introducing or spreading COVID-19 in our community. As a district we are committed to working together with our community members to protect our friends and neighbors who may be most at risk due to this illness. Specifically, we received direction today from the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) that effective at midnight tonight all CHSAA sponsored sports, choir, and band practices, games, and performances are cancelled.
Furthermore, the county emergency management partners met this morning to provide guidance to organizations in the county regarding public events and the collective recommendation is to cancel all scheduled public events for 21 days. The statement from the county multi-agency coordination group* is included below:
“Most everyone is aware that there is a new coronavirus spreading in the U.S. This virus causes an illness called COVID19. Everyone can play a part in preventing the spread of COVID19. We recognize that scheduled public events involving personal contact within groups of individuals carries a significant risk of introducing or spreading COVID19 within our community. In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID19, we recommend that holding such events in Montezuma County or attending events elsewhere should be avoided for the next 21 days. This recommendation will be evaluated regularly as the situation changes.”
We recognize that this is disappointing to so many of our students and their families and we share that disappointment. We also appreciate everyone working together during this time to help reduce the risk and potential impact of COVID-19 in our community. If you have any questions about a specific event or activity, please contact your school
*County multi-agency coordination group members: Montezuma County Public Health Department, Southwest Memorial Hospital, Montezuma County, Cortez Integrated Health System Montezuma County Sheriff’s Department, National Park Service, City of Cortez, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Cortez Police Department, Dolores County Public Health, Cortez Fire Protection District, Town of Mancos, Cortez School District RE1, SW Colorado Health Care Coalition, Mancos School District RE6
Parents, Staff, and Community Members:
Many of you have all been following the developing news about coronavirus (COVID-19). The Governor’s Office and State Health Department has announced that the state has identified “presumed positive” cases of COVID in Colorado and the Governor’s Office has announced enhanced state efforts to prevent further spread of COVID. At this time, we are not aware of any presumed positive cases in our area. However, our safety and health team are working closely with the county, city, and health department and we have updated our emergency plans to include the guidance from the health department. We will continue to update the plan, if necessary, based on any additional guidance we receive from the health department.
The District continues to take this health threat very seriously. The District has a strong plan for responding to outbreaks such as this and we are currently implementing that plan. Our current actions that we are focusing on between now and spring break include:
Deep sanitization and cleaning – the district custodial staff conducted a deep clean in all of our schools on Friday, March 6th. The district custodial staff will continue to do enhanced sanitization in all buildings on an ongoing basis.
Educating students and staff on how to prevent the spread of colds and flus – our teachers will be providing educational materials to all our students in the next week reminding them to wash their hands regularly, cover their mouths if they cough, etc. We’ll also be hanging more posters in our schools reminding students to do these things.
Suspending all out of state school-related travel for staff and students – The superintendent has suspended all out of state school-related travel or staff and students until further notice as a precaution. If your child was scheduled for an out-of-state trip your school will be in touch with more information about rescheduling these trips.
Sending students and staff who are feeling sick home – the school nurses will continue to screen students with health concerns at school and may ask parents to pick up sick students. The nurses may also ask students to wear a mask, while they are waiting for their parents to pick them up, if the nurse believes a student may have the flu (including regular flu or COVID).
Setting up a page on our website where parents, staff, and community members can access updates from the district and link to resources from the health department. Parents and community members can access this webpage by clicking on the link toward the top of the district home page.
We are also asking that parents do not send your child to school if they may be sick. Keeping your sick child home will be a great benefit for the health and wellness of all students and staff. We are also asking that staff stay home if they are sick. We may be asking a few additional questions for students or staff calling in sick as well to help us understand the presence of the flu in our schools and community. Please read the link on “How Sick is Too Sick”.
The district will share any updates or relevant information with parents and the community as it becomes available. At this time, we are monitoring the situation but are not aware of any known Corona virus (COVID) cases in or our area.
Please visit the Colorado Department of Health and Environment for more information and please reach out to the Superintendent’s Office with any questions or concerns.
400 North Elm Street
PO Box R
Cortez, CO 81321-0708