Garfield County School District No. Re-2 pivots back to in-person learning Monday

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Garfield Re-2 School District administrators have spent the past week re-emphasizing safety protocols as they prepare to pivot back to in-person learning beginning Monday, according to the district.

“The first thing that we have done is, we’ve taken quite a bit of time over this last week as administrators to refine our data collection and our data evaluation,” Re-2 Director of Communications Theresa Hamilton said. “One of the things that we recognize is that we may be somewhat inconsistent with our data practices.”

Hamilton said by refining how they analyze the data, the district will be able to intervene earlier if possible COVID-19-related issues emerge. She said this includes focusing more on the number of staff and students absent and quarantined at one time and using such data to determine when to intervene.

“We’re really trying to do a deep dive on all the data points that would impact a school being able to stay open for in person learning,” Hamilton said.

The district announced prior to Thanksgiving break that a 100% shift to distance learning would occur temporarily between Nov. 30 and Dec. 3. The announcement came in light of rising COVID-19 positive cases across the district as well as the county.

Nearly 100 staff members were quarantined due to illness or known COVID-19 exposure prior to schools letting out for Thanksgiving break, according to a Nov. 19 news release. In addition to COVID-19-related issues, Re-2 pivoted to online learning practices amid a substitute teacher shortage.

“Teachers are committed to providing the best educational experience and the most engaging educational experience as they can for our kids in teh online model,” Hamilton said. “I think that we will all be excited to welcome back our kids on Monday.”

Students and staff will continue to practice social distancing once they make their return to in-person learning, Hamilton said. Meanwhile, meetings outside classroom settings are being conducted virtually using online conference platforms.

“We are trying really hard to maximize our cohorting and minimize the introduction of extraneous contacts,” Hamilton said. “We definitely are going to be encouraging our mask wearing and our physical distancing.”

In addition to refining how they analyze the data, Hamilton said the district plans on soon releasing a COVID-19 dashboard similar to the one used by Roaring Fork School District. The dashboard shares up-to-date numbers of positive COVID-19 cases amongst staff and students.

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