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Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

April 21, 2020

Supeintendent Update

Good Morning Tiger Families,

This morning, on a conference call with Governor Polis, the superintendents in Colorado learned that the State has ended in-person learning for the remainder of the academic year.  We will continue to provide our distance learning program, and will continue to work to make it better and more user friendly for all of our students.

We all truly miss seeing our students, and we are so very sorry that all of this could be causing any educational stress for students and families.  I'm sure you understand, this was new to our staff as well, and with time we will become better and hopefully provide education with less and less opportunity for frustration.

As information changes, or updates become available, I will provide updates here on our website.     

Thanks so much for all you are doing...please call or email with questions,

Chris

April 3, 2020

Supeintendent Update

Good Friday Tiger Families,

By now I am sure you have heard of the Governor's order closing schools for the purpose of in-person learning, until April 30th.  This news was not unexpected, and I think we should all prepare for the likelihood that in-person learning will not be possible for the remainder of this academic year.  We will keep our hopes high for a return in May, and please be assured that we will return this year if allowed to do so...even if only for a few days or weeks.

I will continue to update our learning community on plans as we know them.  

- HS Graduation:  I know many folks are concerned about our plans to celebrate with High School Seniors.  We plan to make a more firm decision on or before May 1st.  This will give us as much time as possible, while still hopefully giving families time to adjust.  Here is a list of options, as we know them today...

  • Graduation as normal, on the already planned date...This is becoming more and more unlikely, but we will continue to hope for the best.
  • Graduation on the same date, but modified to account for possible continued restrictions on audience size.  If we are allowed to put 50 people in a room, we may still be able to hold the ceremony, and live stream it to families and friends.
  • Graduation on a later date.  Whether normal or modified, we could hold graduation during the Summer months.
  • Graduation via technology, without a live ceremony or audience.  This is a last resort, but one we will consider if no other options exist.

- Other Ceremonies/Promotions:  We will make decisions by May 1st on any of our other traditional year end events.

If there are questions about any of the upcoming plans, please send an email to your building principal, or the district offices.  The secretaries are working from home, on normal school days, and have the ability to take phone calls at the regular district numbers.  We are here to help.

Thanks so much for your kindness and support,

Chris  

March 31, 2020

School Food Services

Good Day Tiger Families,

I hope this note will help dispel some lies and rumors recently placed online with regard to our food service plans, and also to prevent an unfortunate argument between folks who believe that school lunch is a right, and others who feel differently.  If you are willing to read the entire note, there is some good news near the end!

School lunch in Colorado is not a mandatory service that schools must provide, even on school days.  We planned to begin our food program on April 1st (tomorrow), and since we have been on Spring Break, we felt this was as fast as we could get it going.  All other schools in the Valley were on Spring Break the previous week, so some of them have been serving lunches for the past week and a half.  Some schools cancelled their programs, and some are doing them differently, but most are serving meals.  Schools are using the "Summer meals" option from the USDA for reimbursement, and it is also not mandatory.

There is much history around serving school lunches, and clearly much misinformation.  If you have questions, I am happy to answer and help kind folks who are looking for solutions, rather than just name-calling and lying.

Now the great news....Today, I received an email from the CDE school nutrition unit, notifying us that we will qualify for a meal delivery program, for all Upper Rio Grande Students.  This program is only for families of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches.  If a family has had a recent change of financial circumstances, we will work with you to get an application completed, and get you qualified to receive meals.  Under this program, the meals will come directly from the source, and will be mailed to families via UPS or USPS.  In short, we have found a way to feed our students in need, without creating a serious health risk for our cafeteria or transportation staff. It is truly great news!

We have been working non-stop on this important issue.  Keeping people safe is our number one priority, and our food service workers, custodians, and transportation staff deserve our best efforts at keeping them safe.  We are continuing to pay all of our workers during this difficult time, and we are asking them to do some work that will not put them or their families at serious risk of sickness and/or death.  We want to do this, and also be able to help students in need.  Finding the balance between these two factors was nearly impossible, and an absolute no win situation either way.  After speaking with staff members, and thinking of the risk for which I would have been responsible, I chose to cancel anything not related to learning, and to make every effort to be sure that learning is done without risk.  All the while, we continued to look for a way to have both things be true...keep people safe, and feed students who are food insecure.  With prayers, help from CDE, and hard work from our staff...we believe we have found that solution, and it is not something on which we ever gave up. 

My email address is cburr@urtigers.co, and you can call my office anytime 719-657-4040.  I am happy to speak with anyone who is willing to have a kind and thoughtful conversation, free of foul language.  If there are any families who are in desperate need of food or anything else, I will personally do everything I can to make sure you get what you need...please email or call.    

Again, thanks to all who have supported us during this difficult time,

Chris

March 30, 2020

School Food Services

Dear Tiger Families,

Today, I made the very difficult decision to put a stop to our plans for serving breakfasts and lunches to students on Mondays through Thursdays.  

This is a very difficult and possibly dangerous time for many folks, and we do not feel it is right to risk the health and lives of so many.  LIke many of you, our workers and their families have a wide range of situations and conditions that would put them in a higher risk category.  Also like you, we are all concerned for our families and our own safety.  

Our number one priority is to provide each student and family with a great education.  Our teachers are working hard to help students learn while still at home.  We can help educate students while taking minimal risks for staff, but unfortunately, we could not do the same for other services.

Thanks for your understanding,

Chris

March 18, 2020

School Closure Update

Dear Tiger Families and Community,

Due to the ongoing health emergency, Upper Rio Grande Schools will be closed to onsite learning until Monday, April 20th.  Next week is Spring Break for the URGSD, and we hope that everyone takes a much needed respite.  On Monday, March 30th, teachers will begin working with students using a variety of online tools and resources.  Our teachers have been working hard these past several days, preparing a distance learning program that will meet the most vital curricular needs of our students.  

CHSAA has cancelled all activities until April 18th, and we expect the Friday message from the Governor to possibly have additional guidance.  As you may have seen already, the schools in the San Luis Valley are making every effort to coordinate decisions around school closings...it is our hope that all the communities in the Valley remain safe and healthy.  

In these unprecedented times, it is important that we all work together.  Please stay in touch with your teachers and school with any questions.  We will be considering a plan for providing meals, but we must do so in a manner that will not spread the virus.  As you may have heard or read, a lesson learned from the cruise ships inflicted with this illness was that food workers are some of the most vulnerable.  When we have a safe plan in place, we will notify parents of that plan via the website and text, so please stay tuned.    

Please stay safe and healthy,

Chris

March 13, 2020

School Closure

Good Friday Evening Tiger Family,

These past few days have been extraordinary, and believe it or not, it hasn't been all bad.  The decision made by CHSAA, to cancel the High School Basketball State Championships was a difficult one, and absolutely heart-wrenching for our girls, coaches, and staff.  They did provide us with one fantastic game, and we are so very proud of them.  That one game, while not enough, is a highlight in an otherwise dark few days.  Thank you girls, for all of your hard work...a special thanks to Kendra Parra, Yesenia Rosales, and Alex Golding, the Seniors on the team.  Our Knowledge Bowl State qualifying team also received the difficult news of cancellation.  All of these students have made us proud, and we are thankful for each and every effort they have made on behalf of Del Norte High School.

The news from around the world has caused us all to stop and think about emergency preparedness.  There are some who believe that the information is a bit overblown, and the reactions of panic too severe.  Still others believe we have not yet heard the worst of it, and we should all heed every warning.  It is difficult to find a balance in this situation, and I believe we need to rely on what guidance we do have.  CHSAA has cancelled all athletics and activities until April 6th, which means we cannot even meet to practice.  If we cannot practice soccer, or track, or baseball, with a limited number of students, in the fresh air of Del Norte, then we certainly cannot safely fill a classroom of closely spaced students learning Math.  The Governor has also asked that we do not gather in groups, especially over 250 people...our school has over 500 people at any given point throughout the day.  

For these reasons, and many others, we will be cancelling school next week, which will effectively extend our Spring Break until March 30th.  If there are changes to this , we will have the next two weeks to seek advice, and make good decisions.  Our best hope is that we will return on the 30th, ready to finish the school year.  As a precautionary measure, I will be asking our school leaders and teachers to use the tools available to them, and research any additional tools, such that we can begin delivering instruction in an electronic format, if need be.  I believe we have many classrooms which could begin E-instruction relatively quickly, and we can use our on-staff expertise to help get everyone up to speed. 

To be clear, we will not have school for the next two weeks.  There will be further instructions from the building principals, but I am always available for questions.  in addition, the school building will be closed to all activities and visitors.  I have spoken to each of our School Board Members, and they have been especially supportive in response to this issue.  It was unanimous...keeping our kids and community safe is the priority.  

I also spoke with Emily Brown, from public health, and confirmed that as of this morning (3/13), there were still no cases of COVID-19 in our immediate area.  Public Health sends regular messages, and we will keep in constant contact as more information becomes available.  Please follow the recommendations and guidelines from public health, and keep yourselves safe as much as possible.   

Healthy wishes for all,

Chris

March 10, 2020

COVID-19

We understand there may be some level of concern in our community, regarding the COVID-19 cases from Colorado and around the country and world.  To our knowledge, we have had no cases in the local area.  The school is taking precautions in the cleaning of our school, and will be working extra time over Spring break to deeply clean and disinfect all touchable surfaces.

Thankfully it seems that folks with healthy respiratory systems have a high rate of recovery.  Even more thankfully, children worldwide have been largely unaffected by COVID-19…it seems the young have a secret!  

Upper Rio Grande Schools will continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and keep in contact with local and state Departments of Public Health in order to make the best decisions regarding the health and safety of our students. We encourage everyone to take precautions like washing your hands in order to help decrease the spread of the virus, and to stay home when you have symptoms of illness. Additional information will be sent to families via email or text, and will be posted on the district website as needed.

 

Chris Burr

cburr@urtigers.co Superintendent

Concern or question?

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Additional resources

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention