GCSD To Change Restart Plan

GCSD To Start 100% Remote Learning

July 29, 2020


Dear Gilpin School Community,


Given the COVID-19 data at the end of May and the predicted decline in positive cases going into and through the summer, on June 5 Governor Polis told superintendents to plan on a return to the school building in August. On June 24, superintendents met with Colorado State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy and a number of Colorado Medical Directors of County Public Health Departments who supported the return to in-person learning by practicing social distancing in school by wearing a mouth and nose covering, social distancing as possible, and frequently washing hands to effectively minimize the COVID-19 threat to public health. The guidance was for schools to do their best to enforce social distancing and create students groups (cohorts).


As July progressed, the number of COVID-19 positive cases was increasing in Colorado, negating the predicted decline of the virus. Concurrent with the increase in positive cases, public health officials are now more concerned about groups of people coming together in settings like a classroom. On July 20, the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment collaborated and provided updated guidance and requirements for schools to implement to return to in-person learning.


To be clear, the in-person learning model concedes that it is likely a student(s) or staff member(s) will contract COVID-19 as we bring students and staff back together in the building. The in-person learning model also concedes that it is likely that the school will be on a rolling schedule through the school year due to COVID-19, moving fluidly from in-person to remote learning and back to in-person learning due to a 14 day quarantine(s). This rolling schedule means that in-person learning includes remote learning as positive cases are confirmed, contact tracing is implemented, and a 14 day quarantine is issued for a class(es) or grade(s) or school(s) throughout the school year. There is no guarantee that students or staff members will not become infected with COVID-19 during in-person learning.


After consulting with Gilpin Public Health, reviewing the updated requirements to return to in-person learning, and, knowing that positive cases are trending upward, it is likely a student or staff member will contract the virus by attending school in-person, in-person learning will not be provided to start the school year. 


GCSD will start the school year on August 10 with two program offerings for students: 100% Remote Learning Program with Gilpin teachers and a 100% Gilpin Online Learning Program with pre-made computer courses with a Colorado licensed teacher.


Now, the 100% Gilpin Online Learning Program will provide a teacher for grades K-12. Students in grades 6-12 may choose to have a Colorado licensed teacher or to work on the course(s) independently. The Gilpin Online Learning Program handbook is being developed. Gilpin Online is a choice program by semester and will be offered during both semesters during and 20/21 school year and will be offered into future school years. 


The progression of COVID-19 positive cases will be monitored through August and consideration will be given to either transitioning from 100% remote learning to 100% in-person learning, or transitioning to a hybrid one in-person day a week (25%) with remote learning (75%), or continuing with 100% remote learning. The decision to transition to one of the aforementioned plans or to continue with 100% remote learning will be made on September 1. If the decision is to return to a percentage of in-person learning, in-person will begin on September 8. The Gilpin Online Learning Program will not be subject to change as students will commit to online computer courses for the fall semester through December 17.


GCSD will offer breakfast and lunch meals during remote learning, starting on August 10. The tentative draft plan has Food Service preparing and bagging the meals and Transportation delivering the meal bags to bus stops and other predetermined locations for student/parent pick-up on Monday and Wednesday. Planning is taking place now and information will be sent via separate email with details, processes, and procedures. 


Please join me for a virtual Town Hall meeting tomorrow, Thursday, July 30, 2020, at 6 p.m. for a short presentation on the learning programs for the 2020/2021 school year and the revenue shortfall and financial state of the District that will be followed by an audience question and answer time. Access the meeting at this link: 

Student and staff safety is my priority. The pandemic continues to evolve and school staff will respond and adjust teaching and learning to provide an educational program for your child(ren).

 

Sincerely, 

David S. MacKenzie, Ph.D.

Superintendent


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