School Views: Let’s stay in-person
Since school began Aug. 16, we have seen a steady increase in COVID-19 cases throughout Eagle County. In our schools, we’re finding that, in a manner different from last year, the spread is happening through school-based exposure and not predominantly in our homes and communities.
Despite an increase in cases, we’ve been able to maintain in-person learning and other school activities for all students, at all levels.
One of our primary high schools has recently experienced an increase in cases that has caused the cancellation of some of its partner classes with Colorado Mountain College and the quarantining of some of student athletes. The latter risks the forfeiture of sporting events.
We truly want to continue the school year as we started it: in-person, inclusive of all the normal after-school activities and athletics. We want to be able to welcome visitors in schools, and we want our students to be able to go on field trips. We want our students together with their classmates, learning together and growing together.
As a school district, our priority is providing safe learning environments for students and staff. Our goal and greatest desire is to maintain five-days-a-week of in-person instruction for all students. But, we need help as we face challenges in this pursuit.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Under the current public health order, masks are not required in high schools. However, under the advice of public health, we strongly encourage high school students and staff to wear a mask when indoors.
Public health continues to see severe illness and hospitalizations overwhelmingly among the unvaccinated. Fortunately, we live in an area where vaccinations are widely available through Eagle County Public Health, Vail Health, and other providers. Vaccination opportunities and testing locations can be found at EagleCountyCovid.org.
Mask wearing and getting vaccinated reduces the impact of quarantines and helps keep students in classrooms. They also protect the opportunity to participate in after-school activities and athletics, which are the things we risk losing first should cases become unmanageable in our schools.
So let’s work together, do the things that we have seen are effective, and continue our fight against COVID-19 to provide the best learning experiences for the children of Eagle County.
Philip Qualman is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools Email him at email@example.com.