As the number of Eagle County COVID-19 cases surged past 1,000 on Tuesday, Eagle County Schools issued the following letter to parents and staff explaining that, as things stand, the 2020-21 school year will start online only on Aug. 25 (but there’s a chance to improve the situation):
Dear families and staff of Eagle County Schools,
At last week’s Board of Education meeting (July 22), the Board approved moving the start of school back to August 25, and approved a reopening plan comprised of three scenarios. The scenarios are driven by the epidemiological health of the community. This data is provided by Eagle County Public Health and available here.
This Epidemiological Indicator has three classifications of community health related to COVID-19: Green/Comfortable; Yellow/Cautious; and Red/Concerned.
Likewise, we have three scenarios for returning to school on August 25:
Green: Back to normal for all
Yellow: Four days a week for elementary, middle, and Red Canyon High school and a hybrid schedule for Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain High Schools, and VSSA.Hybrid is an alternating A/B in-school/remote learning schedule segmented by student last name to achieve greater social distancing.
Red: Remote learning for all
Currently, Eagle County is in the Red/Concerned zone. We are waiting for conditions to improve to the Yellow/Cautious zone so we can start in the corresponding modified back-in-school model. We will make our decision based on the Indicator for the week of August 10.
If Red the week of August 10 – we start remote
If Yellow the week of August 10 – we start in the modified back-in-school (4-days a week & hybrid)
If at any time we are operating in the Cautious zone and the conditions change to Concerned, we will take a day off and transition to remote. Inversely, if we’re operating remotely and conditions improve to Cautious, we will wait 14 days to ensure stability in the Cautious status then return to the modified in-person instruction.
We encourage and advise parents to remain enrolled in their neighborhood school. Our schools are prepared to accommodate short-term sporadic remote learning due to extended absences related to COVID-19 illness or quarantine. This will maintain student/teacher relationships, and friendships. If you have concerns about our eventual return to in-person instruction, please contact your principal to discuss and collaboratively problem solve.
For parents interested in long-term entirely online instruction, World Academy is the best option. World Academy offers a proven curriculum and provides limited, but local, teacher support, plus allows students to remain involved in school district extracurricular activities. It is possible to enroll in World Academy and still receive support from your neighborhood school.It is possible to switch from World Academy back to your neighborhood school, but such transitions should happen at an appropriate academic break. World Academy is also a great option for homeschoolers, since it provides curriculum and is self-paced.
We are finalizing a more complete guidebook for parents and staff this week. We will first distribute this electronically. Printed versions will be available shortly thereafter.
Thank you for your patience and continued support. We believe, “if we work together, then we’ll be able to learn together.” This year will require unprecedented collaboration, patience, and support. Let’s start by making an effort now to drive down the rate of infection in our community to the Yellow/Cautious zone so we can get students back into schools.