Dear Boulder Valley Families,
I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving. With two weeks left before Winter Break, we want to provide an update regarding our plans to return students to in-person learning.
We Want You: Help us come #BackTogetherBVSD and #StayTogetherBVSD
As we plan for next semester, we know that it will take our entire community coming together to bring our students back to school and to help them remain in in-person learning.
Help us bend the curve
First and foremost, this means that we need everyone to continue to take the urgings of our public health agencies seriously, by continuing to wear a mask, keep our distance, and limit our activities to members of our household for the time being.
Apply to be a Classroom Monitor
We recognize that one of our biggest struggles as we have tried to stay open has been the impact on quarantines on our staffing. There are a limited number of teachers, staff members and substitutes in BVSD. When key people are pulled out of our schools, it makes it difficult to supervise our students at the level required by the state, which was one of the primary reasons we had to close schools – and eventually the district.
In addition to encouraging caring adults to become substitute teachers (Colorado Department of Education website | BVSD substitute application), we have developed a new position called Classroom Monitor that we believe will help keep schools open, even if some of our staff members are placed in quarantine. While substitute teachers follow lesson plans and lead instruction, our Classroom Monitors will supervise classrooms when teachers are quarantined or unable to be in person and are able to provide instruction virtually.
Check out our Classroom Monitor posting at jobs.bvsd.org and be sure to share with those that can pitch in. It pays $15 an hour and we are hoping to recruit at least five monitors at every school. A background check and brief training will be provided for all successful candidates.
Volunteer to be a Health Monitor
Additionally, we know that the better picture we have of the health situation, the better we are able to react to the situation. For this reason, we are recruiting volunteers to become Health Monitors. After signing a confidentiality agreement, they will help to check in on kids who have called out sick, gather information about their illness and, if necessary, start the quarantining process, as well as providing information about how to access testing opportunities.
If you are interested, fill out this form.
Learn more at tomorrow’s Board of Education meeting
While we do not expect to have any large announcements at the Board of Education meeting, we will further discuss these efforts during the board meeting, as well as getting an update from our partners in public health. Tune into the meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, December 8) at 6 p.m. on BV22 (Comcast Channel 22 or www.bvsd.org/bv22).
Continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation
I want you to know that I remain committed to finding balance. We truly believe that in-person learning is the best mode of instruction for the majority of our students and we will continue to do whatever we can to offer in-person opportunities.
We are closely watching the health data and consulting our partners in public health. Currently, a sizable spike of cases is expected after Thanksgiving and each of the upcoming holidays. We believe that it is prudent to continue to watch these trends, as we consider the right moment to begin bringing students back to the classroom.
We also are watching for updates from the governor’s Back to School Working Group. As you may know, this is a group made up of parents and educators across the state and does include a BVSD employee, who is representing paraprofessional educators in the discussions. One of the developments that we are hearing is that the state will be revising some of the quarantining protocols. This should help keep schools open by allowing us to do more targeted quarantining and eliminating requirements for those with symptoms to get an alternative diagnosis from their doctor.
We will continue to keep you updated.
Starting with students who need our help the most
From the beginning, our focus has been to return students to in-person learning as soon as possible, while prioritizing the students who need our support the most. This approach was reaffirmed by our own Working Advisory Group back in September, and continues to shape the way that we are approaching the return of students, with students in intensive programs first.
As a result, we are working individually with students with the most intensive needs in special education to provide them in-person support, as possible, consistent with health and safety protocols.
Share Your Thanks
Finally, as you surely know, our outstanding educators and staff are working tirelessly to support our students regardless of what mode we are in. They are going above and beyond, whether it is through remote learning, providing meals for families and supporting families through the ups and downs of this awful pandemic.
We are asking everyone to keep the gratitude of Thanksgiving in coming weeks – by sharing a note of thanks with the hard-working BVSD employees who are making a difference for your children.
Who in BVSD are you grateful for? Simply post on social media with the hashtag #thankyoubvsd or add your shoutouts on our posts on Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s make sure they know how much we appreciate their efforts!
Boulder Valley School District