School district to return to remote learning

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    Archuleta School District announced late Friday afternoon that the district’s schools will return to remote learning next week and will continue with remote instruction until winter break on Dec. 18 due to the local rise in COVID-19 cases.

    The announcement came in emails from Superintendent Dr. Kym LeBlanc-Esparza sent to the district’s students, families and staff.

    “While it was initially our plan to return to school in-person for next week, it is simply not safe to do so, given our current case count and number of staff that have to quarantine at this time. We also anticipate case numbers could increase due to holiday travel and family gatherings,” the emails state. “By taking a break between the Thanksgiving week and winter break, the leadership team and I are hopeful that we can curb spread within our schools.  Therefore, we will be returning to school remotely for the timeframe between November 30 and December 18.”

    As of noon Friday, a total of 227 cases have been reported for Archuleta County — rise of 30 from the day before and 46 in two days.

    “Unfortunately, we began seeing cases show up positive on Saturday, November 21 and they continued throughout the week.  Over the past 7 days, we have had 8 cases among students and staff.  This means that we have a significant number of students and staff still impacted by quarantine into December.  While we have been monitoring the positive COVID cases within our schools, we have also seen a sizeable uptick in cases within our community.  Over the past 8 days, we have seen an increase of 96 resident cases, with 46 of those coming just in the past 2 days.  According to the Colorado Department of Public Health guidelines and metrics, it would take our community 49 cases within a 14-day period to be considered for movement to the red level of our Safer at Home dial.  If this trend continues, this could suggest the need to move to the more restrictive level in the near future,” LeBlanc-Esparza wrote.

    She concluded both emails with, “Together, we can do this.”

    For more information on coronavirus in Archuleta County, see next Thursday’s issue of The SUN and watch www.PagosaSUN.com for updates.

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