Riverside Middle School in New Castle goes to 100% online learning beginning Monday | PostIndependent.com

Riverside Middle School in New Castle goes to 100% online learning beginning Monday

Recent Covid-19 cases, substitute teacher and bus driver shortage impacts instruction, bus route

Post Independent education news graphic

Riverside Middle School will transition to 100% online learning Monday in light of nearly half the students directly impacted by recent Covid-19 cases as well as a substitute teacher shortage. 

In a news release Saturday, Garfield Re-2 School District said the district does “not believe there is transmission within the school” but that about 41% of students and 25% of staff at Riverside were directly impacted. That means they are considered close contacts with individuals who recently tested positive for Covid-19.

“This weekend, Garfield Re-2 School District was informed by the Garfield County Department of Public Health of individuals that are confirmed to have COVID-19, or who have COVID-19 like symptoms or illness within the Riverside Viking family,” the release states. “These cases are not related.”

The lack of available instruction staff, a substitute teacher shortage and previously scheduled absences resulted in the need to transition all instruction at the school to online learning through Nov. 10. In-person instruction is slated to resume Nov. 11.

“We have looked at this situation in every way possible and have determined that we do not have the resources to continue in-person instruction until our staff is released from quarantine on Nov. 11,” Garfield Re-2 Superintendent Heather Grumley said in the news release. “The shortage of substitute teachers in Garfield Re-2 has a significant contribution to the decision to pivot Riverside Middle School to online learning.”

A critical shortage of bus drivers also means that the “Butterfly Bus Route” will be suspended until Nov. 11. The rabbit bus was also impacted but will continue service.

In total, the recent Covid-19 cases have resulted in 244 students, 15 staff members and five schools being directly impacted.

“The schools have been doing an incredible job working to keep all students and staff well and safe. Due to the swift actions of the staff and administration, we have not seen transmission in the school,” said Yvonne Long, Garfield County Public Health director, in the news release.

“It is important for our schools to remain open and students attend in person as much as possible. A situation such as this affects so many in our community, thank you all for keeping families and kids safe,” she added.

 As part of these public health investigations: 

 — The individuals diagnosed are being kept home from school until they are no longer infectious.

— The individual’s activities when they could have spread COVID-19 have been assessed.

— The people who were close contacts of the person with COVID-19 have been instructed to stay home from school for 14 days after the exposure. This means they should not go to school, playdates, sports, church or extracurricular events for the full 14-day period.

— Parents/caregivers of a child in quarantine are considered “contacts of a contact” and are not required to quarantine. However, parents need to continue to monitor their family’s symptoms.  

— Garfield Re-2 facilities and custodial crews will use the time to complete a deep-clean and disinfecting of Riverside Middle School, so it is ready for school on Nov. 11. 

 — Riverside Middle School will be offering a drive-through meal pick-up option. Riverside families can contact Riverside Middle School at 970-665-7800 by 9 a.m.daily if they would like to pick up meals. Drive-through meals will be available from 11 a.m. to noon.

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