Happy Labor Day Weekend Valley!

I hope people are enjoying the perfect weather and long weekend. I want to inform you of how this year is different than last year as we continue to respond to CoVid as a district.

This year, our legislature has removed the out-of-school contact option that we were able to utilize last year to count our students. We have returned to the 6 days of emergency closure that is allowed before we need to extend our calendar year. Those days will be used for weather, power loss, or shut down resulting from infectious diseases such as CoVid or the Flu.  Hence, we are working hard to ensure we can keep our students in school at 75% attendance district-wide. That percentage is important because we lose funding and days of contact from the state if we have less than 75% of our students in attendance. That funding is how we operate our schools. 

Since we have opted to be mask optional and encourage people to make personal choices regarding that level of viral mitigation, we need to be really vigilant in checking for health status before kids come to school. Traditionally, following holiday weekends, we see a spike in CoVid cases and while I am hopeful the great weather will keep us outside which minimizes risk, Delta is a more transmissible strain which makes it important to check our kids closely for symptoms before they come to school.

We have had our first cases of transmission in the district and some quarantines as a result.  This is also different this year. We continue to be required by law to track and trace infection in our district for all communicable diseases. If the health department determines quarantine is necessary, they use these criteria to make that decision, which is a change from last year. The following conditions will remove people from quarantine consideration:

If the exposed person has been fully vaccinated (recommend a CoVid test 3-5 days post-exposure regardless of symptomology).

If the exposed person has a confirmed positive CoVid test on record with the Health Department in the last 90 days, they do not need to quarantine. 

If both the positive person and exposed person had masks on and were 3-6 feet apart, the exposed person may continue to attend school and monitor for symptoms for the next 14 days.

We are working hard to remain open for all students to meet both the state attendance requirements and most importantly, the best option for our students which is face-to-face learning. This is not an easy balance to maintain, particularly with many optional viral mitigation strategies,  and we know there will be some negative impacts this year, but the big goal is to keep our buildings open and fully functioning.  Our district mission is to provide a safe and secure environment with enriching experiences that cultivate learning. That mission takes on a range of values, and keeping our kids safe is paramount. With only local controls to determine how this works, it is more complicated and challenging than last year, but we will continue to examine all factors and make adjustments with the ultimate goal to keep our buildings open and face-to-face learning maintained for as many students as possible. Thank you for your help and support in working to achieve that goal this year.  We will get through this together!

Dr. B