Dear EPSD Community,
As we prepare to go into a much needed winter break and embark on 2021, we would like to wish our families a very happy holiday season.
We know that this year has been a difficult one and we are very thankful for our students, families, teachers, staff and community for their support, patience, and understanding as we have navigated 2020.
We have heard our families when they have expressed concern, frustration and sadness about students not learning in-person. We share in your sentiments and we too are concerned about missed academics, social-emotional experiences, as well as the many social experiences and milestones our students normally have. Additionally, we take the role in protecting the health and safety of our students, staff and community when our schools are open, very seriously.
With close guidance from the state and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, we have been following protocols to keep COVID-19 transmission rates within our schools extremely low while in-person learning has occurred. Unfortunately, these protocols have also resulted in quarantining staff members, including teachers, bus drivers, nutrition staff, office staff, etc. resulting in not having adequate staffing at our schools to keep our students safe and engaged in learning. Additionally, following these protocols has also resulted in increased student absences, which affects learning as well.
Given these circumstances and the new protocols released from the Colorado Department of Education late last night, we have made a data-driven decision for reopening our schools after the winter break.
Based on the data we have received it is recommended that even with high rates of COVID-19 in the community, our state and national health experts recommend in-person learning for students because COVID-19 is rarely spreading in schools.
New COVID-19 Protocols to Allow Schools to Stay Open
Schools will have the ability to do targeted quarantines at all levels, including middle and high school.
In alignment with updated CDC guidance, schools will have more flexible quarantine procedures due to increased testing availability, allowing students and staff to safely return to class sooner. This lessens the impact on the ability to keep schools open.
By mid-January in alignment with the phased reopening plans, Estes Park School District students and staff will have access to no-cost COVID swab or saliva tests through our partnerships with LCDHE.