COVID cases prompt move to remote learning at Stone Creek Charter School in Gypsum
Most students returned to in-person learning this week, with a few still in quarantine
Stone Creek Charter School’s Gypsum campus transitioned its students to remote learning last week due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and symptoms. However, most students returned to the campus in-person Tuesday following Labor Day.
The school’s nurse, Bethany Van Wyk, sent out a letter to parents on Tuesday, Aug. 31 informing parents that “we have had an increase in incidences of COVID symptoms and positive COVID cases in our school this week.”
The letter goes on to state that the school sent notices to parents in affected grades and classrooms and “will continue to alert parents if your student is in a grade/classroom that has been exposed.”
“This is a good opportunity to remind everyone that we need to remain vigilant about maintaining a healthy school environment,” Van Wyk wrote in the letter.
Shara Korn, the director of operations at Stone Creek Charter School, said that “because of the number of cases and the amount of classrooms it affected,” the school switched all its students at the Gypsum campus to remote learning from Tuesday through Friday last week.
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Korn said this decision was made with the guidance of local public health officials from Eagle County Public Health and Environment. All decisions being made right now, she said, are made in the best interest of the school’s students and families.
Going forward, the school will continue seeking guidance from the local public health department as well as recommendations from the Colorado Department of Education for any health-related decisions.
Coming back after the Labor Day weekend, Korn said that most students are back in-person at the school with the exception of “a few” students that received quarantine orders from the Eagle County Public Health department.
Since the start of the school year, both of Stone Creek Charter School’s campuses have required masks for its students, teachers and staffs.
This decision followed guidance from Eagle County public health, as well as its Aug. 16 public health order, which stipulated that “All persons, regardless of vaccination status, shall wear face coverings when entering and while inside of schools where vaccination rates for that building (staff and students) is less than 80%.”
Stone Creek teaches kindergarten through eighth grade, so both campuses fall under this order.
Van Wyk added a few resources for parents in her letter, including a checklist for determining whether of not a student should go to school. In the letter she wrote, “If symptoms meet the criteria on this checklist, and last more than 24 hours, we are now REQUIRING a negative COVID test to return to school.”
She added that for parents that did not wish to have their student(s) tested, the student would be required to isolate and remain home for 10 days.
Eagle County Public Health and the Environment last week added a category to its COVID-19 community monitoring dashboard that tracks COVID-19 case rates by student age group.
The data on this dashboard shows that the rate of infection for students under age 5 increased from 8.54 cases per 1,000 the week of Aug. 29 to 10.25 per 1,000 the week of Sept. 5. For children ages 5 to 10, this rate remained relatively flat, increasing from 4.06 to 4.6 between the two weeks. For those between the ages of 11 and 13, this rate increased from 5.38 to 6.85 and for those 14 to 17 it jumped from 7.43 to 21.18.
Reporter Ali Longwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.