Roaring Fork School District Board of Education briefs: COVID statistics, Becker pulls out of election |

Roaring Fork School District Board of Education briefs: COVID statistics, Becker pulls out of election

In a meeting with public speakers contesting the effectiveness of mask wearing, the Roaring Fork School District announced nine COVID-19 positive cases across the district’s 13 schools within the first month of school.

District Superintendent Rob Stein said that of those nine cases, only one resulted in quarantines through close contact tracing. Thirteen students were placed under temporary quarantine after being exposed in an “active environment,” which Stein said included athletics and vocal music, but did not elaborate on the specific activity. Stein said the 13 were quarantined “for a very short time.”

Stein also reported that the district is seeing an average of four COVID-related and quarantine-related absences per day across the district. He said that last year, that number reached 131.

“Strictly looking at, ‘Are the plans keeping our kids in school?’ The answer is yes,” Stein said.

Data on the district’s vaccination rate goals was also announced. The goalpost number of 70%, at which the district will consider lifting mask mandates, has proven difficult to determine with the district spanning three counties.

Stein said the district is now using a multiplier system with vaccination rates from Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties to determine the threshold, which is now at 66%, a 4% increase from Aug. 10.

The numbers are based on the proportion of the student body in each county, which is roughly 75% in Garfield, 5% in Pitkin and 20% in Eagle. Stein said the vaccination rates in Pitkin and Eagle have surpassed the threshold but they need Garfield County to “push us over the edge.”

“We’re getting there but we’re not there yet,” Stein said.

Chris Becker withdraws from Board of Education race

During the public comment portion of the meeting, school board candidate Chris Becker announced his withdrawal from the race for the District E seat, currently held by Jennifer Scherer.

He endorsed Kathryn Kuhlenberg for the seat he was running for and Kenny Teitler for the other open seat in District A.

“I entered this race to ensure there was someone running who understands what issues our district actually faces, what is actually important to the vast majority of constituents,” Becker said. “Together, the ‘K Candidates’ will work hard to bring our district to the level we would all like to be at. If you’re one of my supporters or planning to vote for me, I urge you to follow my endorsement.”

Kuhlenberg is running against Steven Fotion and Teitler is running against Chase McWhorter.

It is too late for Becker to be removed from the ballot, so his name will still be listed as a District E candidate when those are mailed out before Oct. 16. The election will be held on Nov. 2.

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