10 schools plan remote learning days this week
The intent is to limit last-minute inconveniences to parents
Eagle County School District announced Tuesday that 10 of its schools have communicated with their respective parent community their plan to have two days of remote learning this Thursday and Friday.
Unlike most shifts to remote learning due to COVID-19 quarantines, this brief shift is due to a reason to celebrate, the district said.
A large number of Eagle County School District staff members are scheduled to receive their second vaccine dose on Wednesday, meaning hundreds of staff members will become fully vaccinated.
While this is great news, the district said, it also has the potential to cause some last minute operational challenges for the district that could leave parents in a lurch Thursday morning. There have been wide-ranging reports that side effects, though still relatively mild, may be worse with the second dose. With this many staff being vaccinated at once, the potential for a high rate of absenteeism the next morning makes it prudent to proactively plan to work and learn remotely.
“This is an operational decision,” said Superintendent Philip Qualman. “We expect that most staff will feel fine the day after their second inoculation, but with so many being vaccinated at once, if even a small percentage of them have to take the day off, we would likely not be able to cover the absences with guest teachers.”
By electing to operate remotely, the district anticipates that most teachers will be able to effectively teach. If some take the day off to recover, it’s easier for other teachers to help cover classes remotely to keep students engaged in learning.
“We want to be really clear that this is a practical issue,” Qualman continued. “Many have reported that side effects have been worse with the second dose, but still mild. Most have been able to continue on with a regular schedule. So, this is not about the vaccine. It’s just that some of our schools have 60% of their staff impacted one way or another.”
Vaccination schedules have generally been on Wednesdays and Saturdays to not interfere with in-person instruction. This first Thursday will be informative about what to expect in the future.
Schools going remote on Thursday and Friday currently are: Avon Elementary, Brush Creek Elementary, Eagle Valley Elementary, Edwards Elementary, Gypsum Elementary, and Red Hill Elementary. In addition, Gypsum Creek Middle, Homestake Peak (6th-8th grade), Battle Mountain High, and Red Canyon High School (Edwards campus/Thursday only) will be remote.
Schools and teachers have reached out to parents directly with instructions on how to login and engage in the days of remote learning.