School district set to return as planned Monday

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    Archuleta School District Superintendent Dr. Kym LeBlanc-Esparza announced Thursday that the district’s schools will return to in-person and hybrid learning next week as planned.

    “On December 18, we communicated our plan for returning to in person instruction on January 4,” she wrote in a letter to district families. “Since December 18, our case count data has actually gotten better, to the point that San Juan Basin Public Health informed us that we will be moving to Orange as early as Monday January 4. Given our current data and the recommendations by the Colorado Department of Education and Colorado Department of Public Health, students in grades K-8 can return to in-person learning and students at the high school level can be in a hybrid in person learning setting. So we are excited to welcome our students back to school on Monday January 4 as planned.”

    LeBlanc-Esparza’s letter also briefly discusses testing, quarantining and the COVID-19 vaccine.

    “With the support of our local hospital, public health department and emergency services, there have been a number of developments regarding testing, quarantining and the vaccine,” she wrote. “Many of our staff now participate in weekly COVID testing as an early indicator/spread prevention measure. We have also been provided more specific, targeted direction around quarantining, when a case is confirmed. This should help us only exclude students and staff who are truly exposed and/or at risk from exposure. Finally, earlier this week the Governor moved educators and front line workers into category 1B for the vaccine. This promises to help our educators who wish to be vaccinated to get that vaccine this winter, rather than have to wait until the spring. All of these efforts will have a positive impact on our ability to serve our students and families with safe, in person learning throughout the remainder of the school year.”

    Before closing, the letter touches upon the difficulties of the pandemic for educators and families.

    “There is truly no other way to say it, this past 10 months have been hard!  In my 30 plus years in education, I have never experienced anything like this year,” the superintendent wrote. “As educators, we have had to work incredibly hard, but as parents, you have had to navigate monumental changes that this pandemic has imposed. We know that the impact of this pandemic on education has caused great frustration for students, staff and families.  Thank you for working with us and for handling the past 10 months with grace, positive intent and respect.  

    “In looking forward toward 2021, I am hopeful and optimistic  I look forward to all we are going to do as a district and as a community in support of our students, together. Have a safe, healthy New Year.”