Garfield Re-2 announces one week of 100% remote instruction following Thanksgiving break | AspenTimes.com
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Garfield Re-2 announces one week of 100% remote instruction following Thanksgiving break

Week-long period of remote instruction will allow school district leaders to determine the best path forward on in-person instruction; Roaring Fork schools stay the course on in-person instruction plans

All Garfield Re-2 schools will have one week of remote learning after the Thanksgiving break, a news release from the district Friday states.

“This means all students in the Garfield Re-2 School District, at all levels, will participate in distance learning from Nov. 30 through Dec. 3,” the release states. “Garfield Re-2 plans to return to 100% in-person learning for those students that choose to be in person beginning Dec. 7, 2020.”

The announcement followed Garfield County being moved to the “high risk” orange level on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s COVID dial. The category brings increased restrictions on gatherings, limits hours for restaurant liquor sales and more.

In Rifle, all five Re-2 schools moved to 100% remote instruction earlier this week. The compounding factors of rising COVID-19 cases, substitute teacher shortage and number of quarantines were all considerations in moving the entire district to remote instruction for one week.

“The number of quarantines that school and District staff has experienced, increased from seven in the entire month of September to 22 for the first 19 days of November,” the release states. “And as Garfield Re-2 released school for Thanksgiving Break, nearly 100 staff members (12%) were in quarantine due to illness or known COVID-19 exposure.”

Superintendent Heather Grumley acknowledged the difficulty remote instruction poses for students, but said in the release that pivoting to one week of remote instruction could help everyone in the district “catch their breath, stop wondering if today they will be sent home mid-day and be settled in the knowledge of what school looks like. It’s time to reevaluate our processes.”

The weeklong period of remote instruction will allow school district leaders to determine the best path forward on in-person instruction, the release states.

“We know this is disappointing news. However, the health, safety, and well-being of our school community remains our top priority,” Grumley said. “This will give our community time to take the measures necessary to keep their families healthy and safe, give our staff time to recuperate, and our District leaders time to re-evaluate, reimagine, and re-innovate our processes, practices and procedures.”

Garfield Re-2 schools are scheduled to resume in-person learning on Dec. 7, according to the release.

Grumley added, “We know our families and our staff are tired of the impacts that this virus is having on their life. We are too. We value our families, our staff and the precious students we serve every day too much to risk their safety. Over this holiday season, we hope that everyone will stay safe and limit the size of their gatherings, wash their hands, and stay home if they are sick.”

Roaring Fork schools stay the course for in-person instruction

In a newsletter to parents earlier this week, Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Rob Stein said the district currently plans to have students and staff not in quarantine return to the classroom after the Thanksgiving break.

“It is going to be difficult for schools to maintain programming, which is why we are seeing so many school districts around the state pivot back to distance learning. It is tempting to follow suit, but for now we are planning to resume in-person learning after Thanksgiving,” Stein writes in the newsletter. “We all know that, for students, being with their teachers is better for their learning as well as the innumerable other benefits they derive from being in school.”

Continuing remote instruction, however, will be contingent upon reducing rising COVID-19 numbers and people taking measures to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus over Thanksgiving break, Stein writes.

“As much as we value in-person learning, the only way we will be able to maintain it is if our whole community can take responsibility for reducing social gatherings and taking all of the precautions that limit the spread of the disease,” Stein writes. “If we continue to see high Covid rates, either the number of quarantines will incapacitate our programs, or state health officials will order shutdowns.”


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