Roaring Fork school district to continue following CDPHE guidelines |

Roaring Fork school district to continue following CDPHE guidelines

Darian Armer
Special to the Post Independent

After the recent discussion by the Garfield County Commissioners and Board of Public Health’s on how much direction to give to school, there was some confusion about what would happen in Roaring Fork School District Schools regarding COVID-19 protocols.

The Roaring Fork School Board clarified at Wednesday’s meeting how they make decisions about pandemic safety when they unanimously voted to continue adhering to guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Education and other state governing authorities regarding COVID-19 protocols in schools. Superintendent Rob Stein said they continue to consult with local public health officials and medical experts in applying guidance to local schools.

Complicating the matter is the fact that Roaring Fork School District oversees schools that fall in three different counties, of which Garfield County is one. With that in mind, Stein said the goal is to continue to maintain in-person learning while prioritizing the health and safety of the school community.

The decision means there are currently no changes to the way the district handles pandemic safety in school.

Several parents and a former teacher spoke in favor of getting rid of mask mandates and implored the board to revise COVID-19 protocols. Other speakers during the public comment section commended the board for their continued work and urged them to stay the course of masking and other measures to ensure in-person learning can continue.

A graphic explains the COVID-19 protocol decision-making process for Roaring Fork School District. Source: Roaring Fork School District

“We’re not going to satisfy the entire community no matter what we do. It’s hard to serve and know we can’t meet everyone’s needs,” Stein said.

Board member Maureen Stepp asked the board if there was any “hope” they could give the public in terms of ending masking or loosening protocols based on meeting a metric.

Stein said he was hesitant to give a metric.

“Last summer, in July, the CDPHE proposed a metric, and we leaned heavily into that metric. We followed the same process then. We reached it, but following that same guidance, we still couldn’t relax protocols,” Stein said. “I don’t want to say one because people get angry if that happens and then goes away. It’s hard to promise some future threshold that we might reach.”

Board President Kathryn Kuhlenberg responded, saying the board would continue to have weekly meetings and monitor the situation going forward.