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Late this afternoon, we had conversations with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the Governor’s Office, other school district leaders and our respective local public health departments concerning school operations as they relate to the current COVID-19 situation. Based on this conversation, we will operate school on a normal schedule Friday, March 13 including previously scheduled field trips. This decision was made in collaboration with state leadership, state and local health partners and our fellow school district leaders, because there is no evidence of significant community transmission at this time.
We will receive an update from CDPHE and the State Epidemiologist on Friday, March 13 regarding new test results or if there is evidence of significant community transmission. Based on new data shared, we will begin to formulate plans for a possible spring break extension or school closures over the next two weeks and will announce those decisions tomorrow, Friday, March 13. We’d encourage families to also start planning for a possible extended closure and planning for child care as necessary.
It is important to know that as of this message - 6 p.m. on March 12, 2020 - we have not been made aware of any presumptive positive cases of a staff member or student in the Five Star District.
Over the past month we have witnessed the spread of COVID-19 across our country and now into our state and surrounding communities.
Our goal in making decisions for our district regarding this disease has involved the difficult balancing act of attempting to minimize the impact on our students, staff and families as much as possible while also supporting the health and well-being of not only our school community but also the larger community we share.
This will involve some difficult decisions we will need to make in partnership with state and local health officials in support of the greater public health and well-being.
We want to share a few of these decisions that we have made as of 6 p.m. on March 12, 2020.
We have chosen to cancel all upcoming district-sponsored international and out-of-state travel through April 6. This was a particularly difficult decision to make given the knowledge that trips such as these are the first opportunity that many students have to travel outside the confines of our state. We also recognize the significant financial investment made by families to make these trips possible. However, given the continued spread of this disease and increasing recommendations from health officials to limit travel, we don’t feel it would be appropriate to continue with these trips at this time.
Your student travel advisor will reach out with more specific details regarding this decision and your specific trip.
All after-school sports and activities will be canceled starting Friday, March 13 through April 6, 2020 in alignment with the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA).
School theater productions for this weekend will continue with modifications through Saturday, March 14, 2020. We will have these events with a limited audience to align with the guidance surrounding social distancing while also honoring the hard work our students have put into preparing for these events.
As we move forward with events, we want to reemphasize guidelines and precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If you are sick, please do not attend the event.
While there is much to still be learned about this illness and its transmission, there are certain segments of our population that we know are at a higher risk of serious illness from infection. These groups include:
Older adults, over the age of 60
Individuals with chronic medical conditions that could leave them susceptible to other illness
With this in mind, many health experts discourage those who fit these criteria from attending these types of events.
School Closure Guidelines
As of this message, we are not aware of any of our students or staff members testing positive for COVID-19. We continue to take proactive steps for if and when this occurs. We will follow newly published guidelines from CDPHE to assess the need for school or district closure.
Additional information on COVID-19 is available by calling CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 877-462-2911 from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (including weekends) or by emailing COHELP@RMPDC.org. Answers are available in English, Spanish, Mandarin and other languages. Additional information is available online from CDPHE. You can also find information on how we are responding to this virus as well as answers to frequently asked questions on the district website.
Lastly, we want to encourage you to take the necessary steps to safeguard yourself and loved ones as we deal with this situation. Please take the time to review guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to slow and prevent the spread of this illness.
As you know this situation is constantly changing and we anticipate communicating with you again tomorrow, Friday, March 13.