Weekly Superintendent Update, Jan. 7

Weekly Superintendent Update, Jan. 7
Posted on 01/07/2022
Dr. Sirko photo

I hope all of you had a wonderful Winter Break! I want to personally welcome you back to school for the second half of the school year. We have many exciting times ahead in 2022, including the rollout of the D51 Strategic Plan, breaking ground on the new Grand Junction High School, and I’m sure many more student and staff achievements. It will definitely be an exciting year!

COVID-19 Quarantine Protocols 

I hope you have had a chance to read the Jan. 3 email sent to all D51 staff and families about changes to isolation and quarantine protocols. Since Monday, we’ve had to update the length of time students are required to mask in certain circumstances to match the new quarantine and isolation guidelines. If an elementary classroom has a positive case, the positive case is isolated and the class will now need to mask for 10 calendar days instead of 14. Additionally, if a school hits the 2% student positivity rate, the school will now need to mask for 10 calendar days and drop below 1% for 5 consecutive calendar days.

Another update since Monday’s letter: students who have completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations (first two doses) - regardless of when they took them - are considered fully vaccinated and may follow quarantine guidelines for fully vaccinated people. If your child has been vaccinated, you can upload a student’s vaccination card on ParentVUE. Quarantine protocols will differ, however, for staff, who should follow the same guidelines as unvaccinated people if they were last vaccinated more than six months ago (two months for Johnson & Johnson) and have not received their booster. 

COVID-19 Masking Protocols

As noted in the Dec. 27 letter sent to all D51 staff and families, our hope is to no longer require but strongly encourage masks when schools have a 2% positivity rate or an elementary classroom has at least one COVID case starting Feb. 7. This change, however, will depend on factors that are out of our control:
One Week Average Positivity Rate in Mesa County must be below 5%
One Week Cumulative Incidence Rate in Mesa County must be below 100
COVID Hospital admissions in Mesa County must be no more than 1 hospital admission per day (7 day trailing average)

Internally, we will continue monitoring our school and individual COVID cases. If the thresholds above are not met one week ahead of Feb. 7, the timeline for scaling back protocols will be pushed back by a week and reassessed on a weekly basis until thresholds are met.
Click here to check the D51 Data Dashboard for student and staff COVID-19 cases, and click here to view Mesa County Public Health’s Data Dashboard for the greater community.

School of Choice

The School of Choice application process for the 2022-23 school year will open at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 24, and close at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4. School of Choice is an application process for families who wish to send their children to a D51 school outside their neighborhood attendance boundaries. The process is not for schools with their own application/enrollment process, such as alternative options, programs, or charter schools. The application window is a few weeks earlier this year in order to give schools more time to staff buildings properly based on projected enrollment.

If you would like to participate in the School of Choice application process, you will need a ParentVUE account. If you do not have one, please contact your school. The application for School of Choice will become available at 10 a.m. on Jan. 24 at d51schools.org/schoolofchoice. Your application will be time-stamped and spots will be awarded based on availability on a first come, first served basis. Principals will notify families whether their application has been accepted or denied starting Feb. 11. Visit d51schools.org or call 970-254-5311 to learn more.

Central High Logo Change

Central High School unveiled its new logo on Tuesday (you can click here to see it). It was a pleasure to be in the school gym in person to see it unveiled before the entire school! A mascot committee of students, staff, and alumni selected the new logo, in accordance with Senate Bill 21-116. The new law requires all Colorado schools with Native American mascots to change their mascots and logos before June 1 of this year or be fined $25,000 per month. Although the logo is changing, the warrior name will continue. I want to congratulate Central on a successful, thoughtful process that took into account the voices of hundreds of CHS students past and present to give CHS students of the future a logo to carry them into the next generation. 

Reminder: Curriculum Adoption Open Houses

A quick reminder that the community is invited to view new middle school social studies curriculum resources during open houses next week. District 51 is in the process of adopting a new curriculum resource for middle school social studies classrooms. The selection team aims to make a recommendation to the D51 School Board in the Spring of 2022. The community is invited to view the resources under consideration and offer feedback to the selection team at open houses on Jan. 11 and Jan. 13. Click here to learn more about the open houses, and click here and scroll down to see all of the many curriculum resource adoptions made possible in recent years by the 2017 Mill Levy Override.

Board Coffee 

The next D51 School Board Coffee will take place next Saturday, Jan. 15, at 9 a.m. in the Palisade High School Cafeteria. Board Coffees are a great opportunity to speak with board members in an informal setting, and I encourage you to attend if you are able.