Carbondale’s CRES transitions two classrooms to distance learning following first week of in-person return
Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale has transitioned 30 students and staff members in two classes to distance learning in the past four days because of confirmed cases of COVID-19.
According to a district news release sent Sunday evening, the students and staff members will quarantine for 14 days, per public health protocols.
In addition, all three classrooms in CRES’s preschool program are being closed until further notice because of a staff shortage due to COVID-like illness, according to the release.
“We understand this closure puts families in a difficult situation, and we apologize for the inconvenience,” Early Childhood Director Cindy Gray said in the release.
The district’s first quarantine situation due to the coronavirus comes a week after students in kindergarten through third grade returned to in-person classes on Oct. 19. Prior to that, all students in the district have been doing online schooling since late August due to coronavirus concerns.
Under the district return plan, grades 4-8 are slated to resume in-person classes on Monday, and high schools are to return on Nov. 4.
District officials first became aware of the need to send some students and staff into quarantine late last week.
However, the district only communicates broadly about Covid cases when there are 30 or more individuals impacted. That’s due to student and staff confidentiality, Roaring Fork Schools Public Information Officer Kelsy Been said in the release.
“When fewer students and staff are impacted, schools communicate directly with those who may have been exposed,” she said.
A general press release, which can aid in contact tracing when larger groups are involved, is not sent in cases where the numbers are low. Garfield Re-2 and other school districts follow a similar policy.
“We understand that everyone is anxious to know when there is Covid in our schools, and we want our community to be aware of any spread of Covid — it’s in all of our best interests,” Superintendent Rob Stein said in the release. “However, when only a small number of students or staff are impacted, it’s easy to determine who the impacted individuals are, and we have to protect student and staff privacy.”
In the meantime, the Roaring Fork Schools are working closely with Public Health on contact tracing and have contacted all students and staff who have been exposed to Covid.
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Equity, and how that plays into school district communications with primarily Spanish-speaking families, became a topic of discussion as the Roaring Fork Schools Board of Education approved the 2021-22 district budget Wednesday night.