UPDATE: All three Rifle elementary schools, middle school temporarily transition to 100% online learning over COVID concerns
Rifle’s Highland Elementary School joins Wamsley and Graham Mesa elementary schools and Rifle Middle School in making the move to 100% remote instruction beginning Monday because of concerns over Covid-19.
Students are expected to return to the schools following Thanksgiving break on Nov. 30, according to respective news release from Garfield Re-2 School District.
“Garfield Re-2 School District was informed by the Garfield County Department of Public Health of individual(s) that are confirmed to have COVID-19, or who have COVID-19 like symptoms or illness within (each of the schools),” the district announced in weekend statements.
At Highland, 28% of teaching staff are out due to quarantine because of possible exposure, isolation due to a positive test, or because of pre-arranged absences, according to a Sunday release. In addition, 22% of in-person students at Highland are on quarantine.
At Wamsley Elementary, 27% of teaching staff are quarantining, self-isolating or are have their own children out on quarantine. Roughly 14% of students are out on quarantine.
At Rifle Middle School, roughly 32% of students and 18 staff members have been quarantined.
Re-2 also announced last Thursday that Graham Mesa Elementary is transitioning Monday to 100% online learning, also until after Thanksgiving break.
A critical substitute teacher shortage is greatly affecting the district’s “capacity to deliver instruction and keep your children safe,” the release states.
“Some of our schools have reached their capacity to meet the needs of our students for in-person instruction, others are rapidly approaching their limits,” Garfield Re-2 Superintendent Heather Grumley said in the Saturday statement.
She added Sunday as the Highland announcement came, “We have been doing everything in our power to keep our students and staff safe, healthy and learning in-person to the greatest extent possible. Some of our schools have reached their capacity to meet the needs of our students for in-person instruction, others are rapidly approaching their limits.”
“We are imploring our community to be safe, stay 6-feet apart, wear your masks and wash your hands regularly throughout the day — for your health, for your children’s health and to keep our schools open,” Grumley said.
All Re-2 schools that have transitioned students to remote learning will still be offering student meals to-go. Families should contact their schools directly: Wamsley Elementary at 665-7950 and Rifle Middle School at 665-7900 by 9 a.m. daily to request meals. Drive-through meals will be available from 11 a.m. to noon.
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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Contact with two presumed positive cases has led to 65 students and staff at Basalt Elementary School transitioning to remote instruction.