Classes at two Basalt schools latest on the COVID quarantine list |

Classes at two Basalt schools latest on the COVID quarantine list

X’s mark six feet for social distancing outside of Basalt Elementary School on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Basalt Middle School has transitioned most of its eighth grade class to distance learning until after the Thanksgiving break, while neighboring Basalt Elementary has also transitioned 40 students and staff in an unrelated case of COVID-19 exposure.

On Wednesday, a “student or staff member” at BMS tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in the quarantine of almost all of the eighth-grade class., according to the latest news release from the Roaring Fork School District. 

“Because the eighth grade and its teachers are considered a cohort and now need to quarantine, we have made the difficult decision to transition the entire grade to distance learning starting Thursday through Thanksgiving Break,” BMS Principal Jennifer Ellsperman said in the release. 

As a result, there is no school Thursday for eighth graders, in order to allow teachers time to prepare for online classes beginning at 8:45 a.m. on Friday, the release explained. BMS students in grades 5-7 remain in normal in-person sessions.

BES transitions students to distance learning

Meanwhile, Basalt Elementary School transitioned 40 students and staff to distance learning Tuesday and Wednesday because of two related probable positive cases of COVID-19 at BES, per Eagle County Public Health.

“These cases were transmitted in the community — not at school — and were not related to the case at BMS,” according to the district’s release. 

“Although we have had to quarantine numerous cohorts so far, we have been advised by CDPHE and other health experts that the spread of Covid within schools is very low,” Superintendent Rob Stein said in the release. “This is what we’re seeing in our school district and neighboring school districts as well–students and staff are contracting COVID in the community and not spreading it within schools.

“That means it’s more important than ever to observe precautions when out in the community to keep our schools safe.” 

According to the release, all students and staff who have been exposed have been contacted directly and are asked to quarantine through next Tuesday, Nov. 17, and return to school on Wednesday.

Impacted teachers who are asymptomatic are asked to continue to deliver instruction remotely for all students, the release states.

Per the usual protocols, “the affected areas in the school will be deep cleaned and disinfected prior to the return of non-impacted students and staff.”

Also Wednesday, the Roaring Fork District transitioned several students at Glenwood Springs Middle School to distance learning due to COVID-response protocols.

A quarantine does not mean there is an outbreak in a school. Rather, it is a preventative measure to ensure an outbreak does not occur.

An outbreak is defined by public health officials as two or more cases traced to person-to-person spread in a known location, such as a business, office, place of worship, institutional setting or a public gathering.

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