Eagle County Schools welcomes students back Tuesday | VailDaily.com

Eagle County Schools welcomes students back Tuesday

District maintaining same student instruction models as before the winter break; teachers bumped up in state’s vaccination schedule

Eagle County Schools is welcoming students back Tuesday and continuing to offer the same “modified in-person learning” schedule as before the winter break.

State officials announced changes to Colorado’s vaccination priorities over the winter break, moving educators into a higher category, Phase 1B, which is scheduled for vaccination this winter, although it’s not yet clear when teachers will start getting vaccinations.

So far, about 113,700 does of vaccine have been administered in Colorado, primarily to front-line health care workers and residents and staff in long-term and senior care facilities.

Available vaccines require two doses spaced three to four weeks apart to be fully effective against the coronavirus. State officials said they anticipate getting through all Phase 1 vaccinations in the spring, depending on a steady supply of vaccines from the federal government.

“We’re excited to welcome students and staff back to school,” Eagle County Schools Superintendent Philip Qualman said in a news release. “We’re thankful the governor moved educators up in prioritization for the vaccine. It’s an important step in easing anxiety and completing the school year with as much in-person instruction as possible.”

Prior to the winter break, there was concern Eagle County would move from Level Orange to the Level Red severe risk category on the state’s COVID-19 dial, which would have prompted the district to move back to fully remote instruction.

That did not happen, so Eagle County Schools will continue to offer in-person instruction with smaller class sizes and specific cohorts at the elementary and middle schools, and a hybrid model of in-person and remote instruction for the two primary high schools.

While many school districts around Colorado are offering in-person instruction, more than 65% of elementary students and 73% of middle and high school students statewide are attending school remotely, according to data compiled by Colorado Department of Education.

For now, 2021 is starting off with many of the same coronavirus messages as 2020. Eagle County Schools is reminding people to:

  • Keep children home if they are sick
  • Get children tested if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19
  • Keep children home if someone in a household is being tested for COVID-19 until the results are known
  • Quarantine the entire household if someone is positive for COVID-19

People directed to quarantine must remain at home, stay away from others, not go to work or school, and not have play dates or sleepovers or participate in extracurricular activities, the district said.

The district noted that public health officials updated quarantine protocols just before the winter break, reducing the length of quarantines from 14 to 10 days. Asymptomatic people in quarantine can get tested on the fifth day, and if the results are negative, may end the quarantine after the seventh day, resuming normal activities on the eighth day of quarantine. This does not apply to cohort-level quarantines within the district’s schools, but it can allow others to resume their normal schedules sooner, the district said.

“The pandemic still requires a strong commitment from all in our community to continue with the safeguards for the foreseeable future. We remain extremely grateful for everyone’s help, patience and grace,” Qualman said.

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