COVID-19 prompts Kiowa schools to go virtual

Transition to distance learning will be in place at least until Thanksgiving break

Tabatha Stewart
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 11/13/20

Schools in Elbert County School District C-2 — the Kiowa schools — have been closed to in-person learning, due to more than 65 cases of staff and students being quarantined after positive …

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COVID-19 prompts Kiowa schools to go virtual

Transition to distance learning will be in place at least until Thanksgiving break

Posted

Schools in Elbert County School District C-2 — the Kiowa schools — have been closed to in-person learning, due to more than 65 cases of staff and students being quarantined after positive COVID-19 results.

The Elbert County Public Health Department recommended the transition to distance learning because of the high rate of incidences in the small district, which serves 300 students and employs 25 teachers and 26 support staff.

“Many of our staff and students are presently under COVID-19 quarantine because of positive tests,” said Superintendent Scott Mader. “In fact, the number of staff and students combined that are quarantined or in isolation is presently over 65.”

The district transitioned to virtual learning Nov. 12, and will continue through at least Nov. 19 when the school district goes on Thanksgiving break.

In addition to the high number of cases, Mader said he wasn't sure if they would be able to find enough substitutes to effectively keep the schools open.

Elbert County Commissioner Chris Richardson said there has been a problem in the district with parents taking children to school who were exhibiting symptoms, or living in a home with someone who has tested positive. Reports of employees of the school district continuing to work while exhibiting symptoms have also led to an increase in numbers.

“We continue to urge folks to take precautions and make wise choices,” said Richardson. “Unfortunately, we have had a few recent cases of individuals making poor choices that have greatly impacted our schools. These individual decisions have had potentially tremendously bad impacts.”

Mader said they hope to make a decision soon about what learning will look like starting Nov. 30, whether they will resume in-person learning or continue virtual learning. The school has ceased all preschool and day-care classes while the buildings are closed.

“Our goal is to always be as safe as possible, and to provide in-person learning whenever possible,” said Mader. “However, these goals sometimes conflict with each other.”

The Elizabeth School District has not made plans to switch to remote learning, according to Superintendent Douglas Bissonette.

“No, we are not planning to make any system level changes based on the general countywide CDPHE level,” he said, referencing the county’s recently heightened COVID-19 restrictions. “Any changes we make are based on actual cases in our schools… Our focus is to safely maintain our high quality, in-person learning model as long as possible, and to limit disruptions to students and families as much as possible.”

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