Message from Superintendent Seegmiller's Office

Message from Superintendent Seegmiller
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Message from Superintendent Seegmiller's Office

The Weld RE-4 School District Board of Education met on August 5, 2020 to get an update from Superintendent Dan Seegmiller on plans for the start of the school year. The district’s recommendation was to continue with its plan to open on August 17 and August 18 with elementary students in a modified traditional schedule and with secondary students in a hybrid model. 

Every community is operating under different contexts and making decisions based on their own circumstances. In Weld RE-4, we are using data from the Weld County Health Department and basing our decisions on guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for responding to COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in our schools. Significant updates to this guidance were recently provided to school districts on July 30. We have converted this guidance into a chart to show how we will be making decisions about moving individuals, cohorts, an entire building, or even the whole district to off-campus learning. Please note that the chart will be adjusted if CDPHE guidelines change.  

If you have reviewed the CDPHE guidance you will see that it is very stringent; we expect it will be quite difficult for us to keep our doors open over the course of the coming year. Please prepare yourself and your child for the transitions that are likely to take place this year including off-campus learning at home. As you plan, be aware that transitions to a 14-day quarantine for one classroom or cohort, a school building, or our entire district may happen very quickly; potentially even overnight. Under the current CDPHE guidelines, it’s a question of “when,” not “if,” some students will be learning off-campus due to a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.

At this time, under CDPHE guidelines it only takes one student or one teacher with either a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 to put an entire cohort of students and their teacher(s) into quarantine. Similarly, once two or more teachers or staff in a building are infected, the entire building may be closed due to insufficient staffing numbers. In both of these scenarios, students will be moved to off-campus learning. 

Once school starts, families will be required to screen their children daily, at home, for COVID symptoms. We will be sharing information on at-home screenings with you next week. Staff will also be responsible for self-screenings. We are asking that anyone with symptoms stay home. Please know that we will be applying Weld RE-4 district policy JKD/JKE-E (grounds for suspension/expulsion) to any instance where: (1) a student comes to school in-person aware that he/she has tested positive for COVID-19 and does not disclose that information to the district and/or (2) a student comes to school in-person after being advised by a medical professional not to attend school for reasons related to COVID-19 and does not disclose that information to the district. We will consider this behavior as detrimental to the welfare, health, or safety of other students and staff.

As we move forward with our plans to welcome students back in-person, we continue to balance the desire to keep students in school for as long as possible with keeping our students, families, staff, and community healthy and safe. We recognize that we will face incredible challenges this year. We are making the best of the current circumstances and it will be important for us to work together. We know that many families in our community are eager to help. The best thing you can do for our district right now, if you have the flexibility, is to get a one-year substitute teacher license and sign up to be a paid substitute teacher in our district. We believe that a larger substitute pool is key to allowing us to keep our doors open this year. You can learn more about becoming a substitute here.

Sherry Hoffman I Executive Assistant to the Superintendent/Board of Education