We have developed a matrix that outlines what our actions will be in response to our community COVID-19 transmission rate, that aligns with the level of risk and transmission in the re-opening phase as issued by San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH). The matrix was developed using the input/information received from our Return to Learn Task Force, state and local health expertise, our school leaders, our school Instructional Leadership Teams, our professional associations, and survey data.
You can view the matrix HERE. At this time, this matrix will go into effect on January 11, 2021. The community risk and transmission rate at that time will determine which actions on our matrix will go into effect on January 11. Currently, La Plata County is at the red level as outlined on the COVID-19 Status Dial issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
There are six color levels associated with the current local data on the risks and transmission rates around COVID-19. The six levels on the COVID-19 Status Dial are:
- Level Green - Protect Our Neighbors: Local public health agencies are able to contain surges in cases and outbreaks through testing, case investigation, contact tracing, isolation, quarantine, site-specific closures, and enforcement of public health orders.
- Level Blue - Cautious: This is less restrictive than Level Yellow, for counties with low virus transmission that have not yet achieved Protect Our Neighbors.
- Level Yellow - Concern: The baseline. While we are all still safer at home, we are also able to practice greater social distancing in our great outdoors than in confined indoor spaces.
- Level Orange - High Risk (La Plata County’s status in November 2020): This is more restrictive than Level Yellow, for counties experiencing increases in the metrics. Action is needed, but stricter levels may not be warranted.
- Level Red - Severe Risk (La Plata County’s current level): Metrics are high, many indoor activities are prohibited or strictly limited, and outdoor activities are encouraged as an alternative.
- Level Purple - Extreme Risk: Metrics are very high, most indoor activities are prohibited, and individuals should limit contact with people outside their household as much as possible.
The levels for returning to learning at 9-R, at this time, align to these same levels based on feasibility and sustainability:
- Level Green - In this level, community transmission and mitigation levels have achieved the lowest restriction. In this level, all grade levels would return to in-person learning five days a week, remote learning would continue and blended learning would be evaluated by site.
- Level Blue - In this level, community transmission and mitigation levels are declining. In this level, the district would be able to continue the same services as in Level Green.
- Level Yellow - This level would permit in-person learning for students in grades K-12, four days a week, with Wednesday being designated as a remote learning day for all students to aid the need to reduce transmission and support contact tracing, as well as continue deep disinfecting activities when staff and students are not in the schools. Remote learning would continue and blended learning would remain available at sites when it is feasibly sustainable and within the means of the school to support.
- Level Orange - The district was operating at Level Orange in November when our staffing resources were stressed and we were unable to keep up with the coverage necessary to maintain supervised classrooms. Should the community reside in Level Orange, schools can operate remote support rooms and support significant needs students in small instructional groups. Students in grades K-5 who were previously attending school in-person five days per week prior to needing to shift to remote services, would return to in-person instruction on Monday and Tuesday (two days per week), and synchronous remote learning would take place on Wednesday through Friday. Middle and high school students would remain in a remote learning format as well as elementary students whose families elected remote learning at the start of the school year.
- Level Red - Transmission and risk levels are very high at this level, which is our current level. All grades will operate remotely in this model with the exception of preschool/infant-toddler childcare; remote support rooms will remain operational to support special education and at-risk services.
- Level Purple - At this level the community is at a strict stay-at-home order. Preschool and infant-child care programs may operate at this time, and all other students would remain remote.
Information above is a summary of the matrix, so please click HERE to access the matrix and read the entirety of the document. Know that in order to move levels, a community must demonstrate that it is sustaining transmission rates at that new level before a move can be designated. This helps ensure sustainability, while providing enough data to support the move. A community level change is typically released at the end of the week; the school district would not move to the next action step immediately, instead a one-week delay would be provided to provide time for staff and families to transition to the new service design dictated on the matrix.
The task force and district leadership will continue to work with state and local health authorities regarding the implementation of this plan and will continue to update our school community as best we can so that staff and families can plan and prepare for their educational supports for their student(s). A repository of COVID-19 information and updates can be found on our website HERE. Additionally, resources are available for families in our new COVID-19 Data Dashboard HERE.
Together we can continue to create positive and effective educational experiences for all students. Together, as a community, we can lower our transmission rates by implementing the practices known to reduce virus transmission. Your continued partnership and collaboration are a critical part of our success and we appreciate everything you are doing to support your student, your educators, and your community.