2020-12-16 Board of Education Special Meeting

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Unknown Speaker 0:01
Good evening and welcome to the st. Grand Valley schools Board of Education meeting. Please stand and join us in saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

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I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America

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for which it stands,

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one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty.

Unknown Speaker 0:27
Hi, Barb. Hi. Can you call the roll for us, please? This evening.

Unknown Speaker 0:31
Mr. Arens? Yeah. Mr. Berthold

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Mr. Garcia.

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Dr. martyr

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Miss Pierce here.

Unknown Speaker 0:39
Mrs. Raglan here and Miss siegrist. Here. Thanks, Barb. Barb, this is a special meeting. And we do welcome public comment at every meeting the Board of Education holds and Did anyone sign up this evening to speak? I confirm there were no public members that wanted to speak tonight. Great. Thank you. All right. We will jump straight into our meeting this evening. We have one agenda item which is a COVID. Update. And Dr. Haddad will be be speaking at length here shortly. I do want to take just a minute and thank all of the community members who have emailed the Board of Education, to share your thoughts, opinions, concerns, your personal stories with us, please know that we read those emails we hear you. And we understand that there are a lot of different stories and a lot of different situations in our community. I also do want to to note that the purpose of our meeting this evening is the update. But an opportunity for us to hear from Dr. Hat add the outcomes of all of those meetings and discussions that he talked about at our last meeting. It’s an opportunity for Dr. martyr and and for Mr. Berthold to talk with us and share their perspective of of the the taskforce meeting that they attended. And it’s also an opportunity for board members to share any thoughts and or ask questions. And then on Friday, Don, you’ll actually be announcing the plan for the start of a second semester after the winter break. Great. Super. Alright, I think then we’ll go ahead and launch in. You’ve been very busy, and you have a lot of information to share. You’ve talked with experts and a variety of stakeholders, everyone from teachers to parents. And we’re anxious, anxious to hear what you have to say.

Unknown Speaker 2:36
All right, well, thanks. I appreciate it. And we have had an opportunity to visit with a number of people. We started on Monday with our and this goes back well before Monday, but just most recently, we met with our comprehensive safety team. And again, just to remind people, that includes Jeff sack, who is the executive director of Boulder County Health. And he also monitors and receives data from weld County, and then gives us his thoughts about that data as well. And then Dr. Chris Urbina, who is the Chief Medical Officer for the county, and then soda, who is our Boulder County epidemiologist, and Heather krait. And she is our liaison, and so they were all there. We also, were glad that Dr. martyr and Mr. Berthold are on that committee, and we have our district nurse, and we actually have hired more nurses. So we had several nurses there, as well as Johnny terell, who is our Executive Director of Student Services. And Sophia Jaeger, who’s our lead nurse. We also have hired an epidemiologist for St. vrain Valley schools who was participating in that as well. And then we have a number of teachers that participate with that group, including the President of the Teachers Association, Steve Villareal, and then Susie Hidalgo, who is the Vice President, and then a number of teachers that join us as well. And then we also represent and I know our board, and everybody is able to represent some of the sentiments from parents at those meetings that they hear and questions that they can ask. And so we had an extensive meeting, we saw data and data was explained to us. A lot of people had opportunities to ask questions. And then the next day, we had a meeting, and Joey appreciated you joining us in that meeting. It’s our teacher Advisory Council. And we have teachers from each of our schools that attend and they ask questions, we were able to provide for them data and information and resources and give them an update. So that meeting went very well and I appreciated you being there and Dr. capetian, and several other Members of our leadership team, and then all of the teachers who attended. And that’s a regular meeting that we have in St. reign. This was the first time we were able to pull that group back together this year, but it was a it was a good meeting. And then the following day, we were able to meet with approximately 124. community members, most of them were parents, I think we had slightly over 100 parents in attendance. And then we also had Jeff sack and Dr. Urbina and Heather and soda. And then we also had our district nurses and our epidemiologist. And I think I’m not sure how many board members, we have board members, Dr. martyr attended that meeting. And Jim Berthold it as well, and so appreciated that participation. And then

Unknown Speaker 5:48
Kerry McDermott and Dr. futian, and just a whole host of our leadership team, and we had a good two hour meeting, and we were able to answer some questions and some follow up questions. So I appreciated everybody taking the time to engage there and Jeff sakinah, the medical team, for the county gave a detailed report about all of the data that looks at things like what’s the positivity rate? How many people are being tested? How many positive cases do you have per 100,000? People? You know, what are the hospitalization rates looking like, and the trends? What are the fatality rates looking like? And then they look at different age groups five to 17. And what’s happening in some of the long term care facilities? What are the trends? Are we seeing a spike after the holidays, Thanksgiving, all of those things he was able to present. And then we had some really great questions from our parents. And we were able to respond to those, and so very appreciative of everybody. And then following that meeting, I was able to meet with our teacher Association, including the President of Teachers Association, the Vice President, and our uniserv director, who serves both St. Raine and pooter. Valley. And then all of the teacher leaders, there’s usually one, sometimes two from each school. And so we had a good meeting, we’re able to answer some of those questions. And then obviously, plan on having this meeting with the board to share my perspectives, which I just did. And then hopefully, Dr. martyr and Mr. Berthold, you share some of your perspectives from the meetings you’ve attended. And Joey, you as well, and ask questions. And then as you process it over the evening, if there any further questions you have tomorrow, and then we will, we will look at making a final decision tomorrow. And then we had originally said we would get letters out on the 21st. But we’ve adjusted that plan to get the letters out this Friday. So rather than Monday, we’ll get them out a few days earlier, at the end of this week. And so parents and teachers and staff can look for those letters. And they’ll have a lot of detail as to what the return to school is one thing that we also have done on Monday or Tuesday, Governor polis had a meeting with superintendents, and so we were able to hear his perspective. And then we also watched his press conference. And then I also had received this report, which was the COVID report, returned a school report from the Task Force had a chance to go through it and dissect it in detail.

Unknown Speaker 8:33
And then continue to review other research that the county health in the state health department’s cdphp and Boulder County provide for us studies from Brown from Duke, the most recent CDC, white paper that came out. And and the crux of the message is, as we’ve heard all along, and I know you guys will talk about what you heard. But what I heard repeatedly was that the recommendation was very strong that elementary school students should be in person. And that’s based on data that they’ve seen throughout the year and in other places, as well as insane rain, but across the state and beyond in terms of transmission rates and the level of risk. And so we heard that very clearly. We also heard that middle and high school students should be returning to school as well in person they looked at as the age group gets a little bit older middle school and then High School, the level of risk increases. And so what our county health officials have recommended for those two levels is a hybrid model. And they’ve recommended full in person for the elementary school. Now that would be four days a week, Monday through Thursday for the elementary schools and then on Fridays would be a day for teachers to plan work the other way option for elementary school students who do not want to return in person would be to remain in the full time synchronous model, which is where they add, they’re at home, and they log into the classroom virtually in real time, and can participate in the lesson from home. So that option will be available. And then we also have the third option, which is available for people who are enrolled in launch dead. And we said to the folks in launch that if at any time, you know, you make that decision that you want to come back into the in person, we have flexibility there as well. And then some parents may choose our homeschooling program, which we also have. And then what other options they might find available to them and their families. But we wanted to make sure that all of those options were available, and they will be available throughout the remainder of the school year. So all the way through May. And at the middle school level, if we if we, according to this conversation here with the board, if we do go with the hybrid model, the middle school students would also have the choice of staying at home fully synchronous, if that’s what they want it to do. And or if they’re in the launchpad program, they can stay there, they can select the homeschooling program and any other options that they may have available to them. And these would be this, that would be the same hybrid model that they were experiencing before we went to the fully synchronous model after the quarantining protocols changed. And then the high school would remain in a hybrid with those two days, for group A, and then two days for Group B. And then Fridays would be a day that if they wanted to come in and get additional support, one on one help they meet with a counselor, any of those kinds of things meet with a teacher, that option would be available to them as well, in in these levels, all levels, K through then excuse me, preschool would be in the same model fully because the the basically the requirements for preschool are such that we would follow the same system that we had with all of the kids in and then K through 12. Any student who wants additional support can come in, we will have opportunities for academic support in each of our schools, on the days that you’re not scheduled, or on the days that you are scheduled. So conceivably, you could come in for the two days that you’re scheduled. And then the days that you’re not scheduled, you could come in at the end of the day, get some academic support from your teachers. And it may not always be your teacher, but it will be a teacher in that subject area. And we’ve had a number of teachers that have signed on to participate in that academic support. So those are the kinds of things we also have set up counseling support across the board in every school. And each principal is sending home or should have already I think it was last Friday, sent home to parents, the counselors names the alphabet that the counselor serves. And so parents and students can contact the counselor and set up meetings throughout the day, Monday through Friday, and get additional support from their counselor, whether it be academic, social, emotional, any of those kinds of things. We have a lot of counselors who are eager to be there and support. And so that’s another option outside of the academic arena. And then we will once we get things up and running, we are looking for the possibility of starting some Saturday school support that would be staffed by some teachers in certain subject areas in various places. And we will give further information around that Saturday school support. Once we get this staggered start back in with our elementary school students starting on January 6, full in person, Monday through Thursday, with the other options that I mentioned, to work from home, or for the launch that program, the fully synchronous or the launched at middle school would start according to this recommendation, January 11. And they would be on the hybrid model that they were on prior to us going to synchronous.

Unknown Speaker 14:20
And that would go Monday through Thursday with Office Hours set up with the teachers for middle school on Fridays. And then high schools would start on January 19, which is the day right after Martin Luther King Day holiday and then they would be on the same hybrid schedule they were on prior to with the options to come in and get additional academic support and K through 12 additional counseling support. Now, what I also want to say is we are still going to be communicating with the health department’s regularly to see how quickly we can bring back our middle and our high school student. into more in person time. And as soon as they make that recommendation based on data, then we will move in that direction. So it’s not this is not permanent for the remainder of the school year. Our hope is that we can once it’s recommended that it’s appropriately safer than we will move the older students in with that full time. But right now, they’re saying that we still need to be more mindful of the social distancing. And some of those things. The other thing is, is there was that conversation about after the fourth or the new year, they wanted to see, you know, what kind of transmission took place. And that’s the rationale of the middle school and the high school being backed up slightly. That was a conversation with the county health department’s to say, that would give them now we did not see a spike over Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving broke. So we’re optimistic. One of the things that the health department has said, and I think we’ve heard it from our governor, and I think we’ve heard it from a lot of parents and stuff, is that we have a lot of influence in how things play themselves out. We have a lot of influence in meeting our community, how we conduct ourselves, you know, do we avoid groups to the best of our ability, and I’m not going to sit here and preach to people how they should conduct their personal lives, that is their business. However, there is a correlation there between how the choices they make, and then our opportunities and our ability to function as a school system. The quarantining protocols have been adjusted to be more strategic and specific back to a targeted approach, which gives us some latitude and we hope that we will not be seeing the large number of quarantining that we were seeing that caused us to have to shift because if you remember, when we started back on October 5, we were with we were able to do targeted quarantining and we had moved along for six to seven weeks. And we were doing relatively well from a quarantining perspective. We felt we could stay open, but then they moved into the red on the dial for the state, and moved us back into general quarantining, which then created a massive amount of quarantining for students and teachers, and then operationally it became unmanageable. And not, it was no longer feasible to try to because we didn’t have the substitute teachers, and we still don’t, and we just could not staff, our schools and our buses and those kinds of things. And that was something that everybody felt throughout the entire system, and throughout the entire state. That’s why you saw all of these other school districts follow suit. Now, I am in conversation with other school districts. And I think you’ll see similar trends, but you might see some of the middle schools and the high schools in other districts backed up even further. And that might be because their counties have higher rates than what we’re seeing right now in Boulder County. And weld county is higher than Boulder County. But the good news is, is both counties are coming down in terms of positivity rates, in terms of the number of people testing positive per 100,000, in terms of our age groups at schools, five to 17 and 18 years old hospitalizations did creep up in Boulder County. But overall, we’re seeing a flattening there, but they did come up a little bit. And so they’ll be watching, you know that the hospitalization trend. So a lot of moving parts. from an operational standpoint, we would be ready to go with our transportation with our nutrition services, with our human resources with our operations and maintenance with our teachers,

Unknown Speaker 18:55
and our administrators, our buildings have been cleaned thoroughly again, and we will maintain all of the mitigation efforts, wearing masks, socially distancing, hand sanitizing, hand washing, screening for health checks at home, making sure that the H vac systems are still functioning, which they are at a very high level with the air handlers opening up every 15 minutes. All of those things that we know, we also have ordered face shields for all of our staff, so that they can wear a mask and if they choose, they can also wear a face mask in addition or a face shield over and above the mask. And then we also will maintain our testing, but we have opened up testing at the Innovation Center to students free of charge as well as the adults. Now if you are quarantine, we would ask that and again it’s it’s an ask it’s not a requirement, but one way that you can reduce the time with your quarantine. By getting a test after a seven day period of time that shows negative, and then that would be a way to avoid a full 14 day quarantine, we will provide a one page document in the letter that’s coming out that explains the quarantining protocols. We will also provide the schedules, I know that people are used to them by now the school schedules, but you’ll be able to see that, and really, a whole host of other pieces of information will be in the communication that comes out on Friday. And then I would encourage people to contact their principals if they have any questions. And we’ll also be asking principals to do follow up communication, so that we will be ready to go. Now. Some people have said to me, you know, have you made this final decision? And the answer that question is no, because this is the final stop in the series of conversations that we’ve been having with our health department and with our families and everyone else. And so I would want you all to have this discussion, ask whatever questions, I guess, communicate with Joey tomorrow, if you have any follow up questions, or if you want to communicate anything that you’ve heard from a constituent, and then Joey will call me and let me know. And then we’ll be able to make a final decision tomorrow and get that letter out first thing Friday morning. That’s our game plan right now. And and know that it’s not an event, it’s a process. Just because we start school up again, does not mean we will stop meeting with our health departments, we will continue to be 24 seven. There’s also information from Chaska that they have backed up to be season two, I think January 25. And so we will keep you informed as to when we get the green light to move forward with athletics and activities, music programs and things like that after school. So again, a lot of moving parts, but we feel relatively good where we are, we actually feel very good where we are. The one thing that I always understand is that this plan will not make everyone happy. I understand that. And from the beginning, we have said we have to stay closely connected to the health department’s. And I just want to reiterate that right now. This decision is based on Boulder County health department’s recommendations, it’s based on the CDC white paper, it’s based on the Colorado Department of Public Health and environments recommendations around school, it’s based on the comments that are made at the national level from some of the top medical officers. It’s also based on the governor’s task force that was recently reporting out on what they recommend yesterday. And we have to stay closely connected regardless of what we may believe one way or the other. Because this is a health pandemic. And so I, I want people to know that it’s not lost on us in any way, shape, or form the hardships that this pandemic has caused. And I appreciate the communication and will continue to respond to the communication. And we will continue to work towards our ultimate hope that we get everybody back in fully in person as soon as it is safer to do so. And as soon as it is operationally feasible to do. So, I do want to remind people that even in a hybrid, you can actually come to school more often

Unknown Speaker 23:32
for the after school academic support. Now there’s one other thing that I would like to share about the fully in person at the middle and high school level, we may have, when you break things up into a hybrid, we may have several students in a class select the fully synchronous model. And if they do select that fully synchronous model in a classroom, or two, or three, or maybe the whole, they were actually two or three in a class, if we have that reduce the number of students in person, then we might be able to open it up to some more students who want to come in fully in person. We will know that probably after that first week, because what we’re asking people to do is if you self select into the synchronous model, then you should do that with the intention of being there consistently in the synchronous learning model from home. It’s not something that we can have people coming just back and forth on a daily basis, because that’s just way too disruptive for the teachers and hard to keep track of everything. But for those who do select that fully synchronous. If it frees up some space in those classrooms, then we would open up some more fully in person options for some of the high school and middle school students. And again, we all know that class by class school by school after that first week. And you know, there’s also was the optimism around the vaccines and And so we’re we’re moving in the right direction. And I know it’s been a long haul for everybody. And so I’m appreciative of that appreciate everybody’s patience. And just know that we are going to continue to communicate, and continue to be responsive and continue to work closely with our our medical officials throughout this process, given a lot of information, so I’m going to stop there. I would like to see here what your perspective is, and also, Dr. capetian, because I know you’re immersed in this 24 seven, anything you would like to share, please feel free to do so as well. And then I’ll respond to any questions that anybody might have.

Unknown Speaker 25:37
Thanks, Don Jackie.

Unknown Speaker 25:40
Sure. There are just some additional things to what Dr. Haddad has spoken about, just so people get a full comprehensive picture of what the preparations are. We’ve been meeting with principals and giving them different scenarios so that they are able to ready the staff for whatever scenario, we come back in after winter break. We are preparing essential learning documents because we know that going through the curriculum and the scope and sequence and the pacing has been off. So we’re trying to focus teachers in each grade level and core content area as to what are the most essential learnings for the remainder of the school year. So we’ll roll the roll those out to our teachers. In January. We are getting classroom furniture back into classrooms, because we spread out during the hybrid at the elementary level. And some of that furniture needs to be gathered back up and put back into classrooms. So should we go back full in at the elementary level, we’ll have those classrooms put back together we’re retool retooling master schedules, coming out of the remote back into specials and electives and doing some work with the master schedules. We’re getting ready for access testing. That comes a little bit later in January. But it takes a lot of work for us to access test our English language learners and in some of our schools, that is a fairly large population of students. So we’ll we’ll be all hands on deck to support that. Again, training in the new protocols that will help us with targeted a lot of seating charts, we have to have seating charts for every area where kids gather. So even in cafeterias and libraries, and we have to have those very readily available, and they need to be clear and concise. So we’re working right now with principals on what those sample Seating Charts look like. We again are retooling our attendance procedures. Every time that shifts, we have to do a system shift and recode and rework our attendance system to accommodate that. We’re working with community schools we are going to offer before and after care, should we be back full in an elementary will offer before and after care four days a week, and then we’ll offer full day care on Fridays. So we have to make sure we have enough staff ready to to work full days on Friday. So we’re working through that lots and lots of cleaning going on in schools right now since we don’t have students in. And then we’re also working with COVID check Colorado because we have to get the student testing component ready to go. And their system has to accommodate that. So we’ll offer student testing at the Innovation Center. And we’ve been working with that partnership to make sure that that’s ready to go as well. And that’s what I have, I might have repeated some of yours. But

Unknown Speaker 28:43
thanks, Jackie. Appreciate it. So Don, before we open it up to to to board member comments, questions, and I’m really do I’m anxious to hear from dick. And Jim. I just want to loop back one more time to make sure that that we’re all on the same page as you and that we know that you met with Boulder County Public Health. So So Jeff siak, Dr. Bina soda, who’s the epidemiologist Heather, who is our liaison, the teacher advisory group, parent group, teacher, The Teacher Association, and then also considered input from the CDC cdphp, the American Academy of Pediatrics. And then of course, and I know I’m missing something here, of course, and then also consulted the guidelines that came out of the task force with Governor polis. And so all of these people are all of that had input. But Boulder County Public Health at the end of the day, is recommending and stating that going back in all in elementary school, and then phasing in hybrid for middle school and high school Well, is what they’re standing behind right now.

Unknown Speaker 30:02

Unknown Speaker 30:03
Okay. Thank you, Jim and and and Dec would love to hear your takeaways from, from all this information, please from the meetings and thank you,

Unknown Speaker 30:15
thank you. Well, you summed it up, it was very clear in to the meetings I attended, Boulder County Health was dominant in the presentation of information, the data, explicitly stated all the time is just related the that the risk level with that p K through five is, is the safest and most nominal, a, clearly they’ve got a lot of evidence over the past nine months that that that grade, that age level does not transmit to one another or to adults. And I guess I heard one at one time they stated, you know, when if the if there is a is a positive, it’s, it’s not really effective much on this on the little guys, they seem to be able to be resilient, and it’s no electronic a call to them or something. But that as you go up, as he said, as long as you go up in the age, the risk level sort of increases. And even at that high school level, with the community spiking it that seems like the the order the high school level is also react to that more than the middle school, and much less than the elementary school. Because those kids are always out probably with the community in the community a little more than the other ones because they can get out on their own. So that’s that’s where that I think that what they were getting to it that theory. But again, very specific, that you summed up, recommend get the p K through five in person and and then look look to get the other ones in as we as we can. And the idea that I think that that is what Don said that the the the phasing it in with the middle school comes in a little bit later in high school comes a little later. Because deja vu might be some time that we need to know whether or not there’s going to be a spike, because it seems the spikes we’ve had have been around, let’s say more frivolous types of holidays where other people are inviting more. And that’s what we would expect New Year’s to be. And, and I think that’s some of the issues that the teachers raised as well, when they were talking about, you know, his geezer awaited we can phase in, so that we have some more data before we actually decided to put the high school students in the in the building. So I don’t think there was much more than that. I know the a lot of questions came around the quarantine. And I think coming up with this, like a new policy from the state where you can test after seven days. And if you become negative, and you have no symptoms, that you’ll be able to come back back to work. And I think that would be a major situation to alleviate that shortage of the classified staff to teachers, all the people who need to, we need to have to have the school function and function safely for the students. So I think that’s a really big step, which enables this decision to be made a little easier, because part of the problem is when we have that general quarantine and people were all going out. I mean, if buildings were being emptied out by that. So this is a little more gives us a little more of a of a fine tuning doll that we can use as we approach these the issues that come up. So I think that was critical. And I think that was a question that we had in especially from the ones with the with the with the union reps. Were they were they were concerned about that a little bit. But how do we how do we do that? coin quarantining and in fact, did it change tendon so quickly, just like just like the shutdown of the quarantine chain, just like a snap of a finger and boom, you’re sitting there. You had a bucket full of water all sudden a bucket is empty, and you don’t know why. And so yeah, I but Boulder County Health was very specific. In all the meetings that was the same data was the same position that they took and recommendations that they made. And they’ve been so supportive in this. And I mean, it’s I empathize with what their workload must be. To be able to attend all that. We’re just one we’re just one district. I don’t know how many districts, Boulder, you know, the boulder Valley and you have us. And

Unknown Speaker 35:04
that’s but then you have you is the big one too. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 35:08
So yeah, you know, and they had to say these, you know, give the same information and I would say meanings. And I can’t imagine how much their own. And I just think that they deserve all the respect we can give them for every effort they put in to help us get to where we are at this time, as safely as we have really, if you think about it, our district has done quite well, number wise, as another issue, our district, state ball common down in our district is never had been a part of those big numbers. I mean, we little part of the numbers, but we don’t think we were involved in in causing the big spikes in this community.

Unknown Speaker 35:50
So our teachers and our students and our families, and our administrators have really taken to heart the the mitigation efforts. And I also wanted, you know, I know we talked a lot about Boulder County, but I do want you to know that Jeff’s acted present data from weld county as well, and walked us through that data and shared with us where they were on the dial as a result of the three major things that they’re looking at. So that’s always part of the conversation weld county as well.

Unknown Speaker 36:21
You know, Jim, you I read something last night, you were saying about about schools not being a significant driver of the infection rates. And when I was seeking out governor polis is the the guidelines from the the task force that that were published yesterday by him. I read in that very same article that Colorado looked at 35 School districts, 41,000 kids were quarantined, and there were 166 positives, which is actually less than than 1%. So that’s absolutely consistent with with what you were saying that stood out. Yeah. Did you have anything that you wanted to add to that? Jim, thank you so much. Appreciate your, your the extra time you’ve spent on this. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 37:08
So important.

Unknown Speaker 37:10
It is important to listen to parents and to listen to the health department. And just to we appreciate you representing the board in that way. And dick the same, the same to you. And go ahead.

Unknown Speaker 37:23
Yeah, well, thank you. And I appreciate Jim’s excellent overall summary of the of our experience on these committees. So I won’t repeat it, you know, foot he’s already covered. But I wanted to comment on the how I appreciated the comprehensive and inclusive approach that Don and his staff have taken with regard to seeking out the experts to get the best information we have with regard to health, but also having those experts available to meeting to meet with our various publics. And I think that we have left Don and his staff have left no stone unturned. So I think that’s that was a key component of that really characterized the approach that we’ve taken in the past in our in our continuing to take. I felt reporting on the comprehensive safety team that included our teachers and our teacher Association, as well as senior staff. I was I really did appreciate the thoughtful questions that our teachers brought to the fore. They talked about the impacts of the quarantine on instruction, they talked about and asked questions about ensuring that we added sufficient protection for our teachers and students, the kind of protocols that we needed in place. And it was a very, I thought, a constructive exchange of information, questions raised responses given and responsive responses given. So I felt that those discussions were both very informative, and also, as I said, responsive, and one of the messages that was clear, came up several times. Was the climb back to how do we keep our students and teachers safe? And the answer is there’s no one answer. That social distancing is part of that. facemask and shields are part of that. The air exchanges are part of that. air circulation, handwashing, personal hygiene, all of those things are taken together. This well, Boulder County Public Health Assessment of are we able at this point to bring our students back into the classroom. So that it was that comprehensive nature, not relying on any one factor that saying that each of those factors three feet, six feet, five feet, ever those guidelines, as we learn more are not to be each one of them contributes to providing a safe environment. I was struck, and I did ask questions about the level of testing that is has occurred in our K five population. And just say very responsibly got back to me, with both the level of testing for those students, which is quite adequate, in fact, more than adequate, and then the response, the net of infection rates amongst those students out is very, very low transmissibility fully supports k five going back up in person full time. I think that the approach that Donna’s has demonstrated has is suggesting at this point of phase down instruction for the middle school with a week delay and then the high school struggling on night hybrid in on the 19th. Is acknowledges the kinds of possible impact that the well, the holiday response might experience might impose on us. So we’ll have more information. And the high school students are in the category that are slightly more likely to transmit. And so I think our approach is supported by the data that Jeff sack and Boulder County Public Health recommended. And although we could perhaps go back earlier, I think this is, given the information we we had that this is really

Unknown Speaker 42:36
an excellent approach for us. I would just say that, I guess finally that, you know, I just got off a phone call with Well, 12 members of the Caspi board, who represent districts up and down the not only up and down the Front Range, but throughout the state. And they have, they are also carefully listening to their public health officials. And many of them, most of them are moving in the direction of full time in person k five, and increasingly looking for ways to start in person instruction for middle and high school. But almost all of them are starting with a hybrid. So I think we are well aligned with what’s happening beyond our boundaries, both in terms of certainly our key five population, and then also with regard to phasing in and moving toward increasingly increasing our in person instruction for middle and high school. So I guess I would say I was not surprised, but certainly reassured and foreign formed through those meetings, I thought our teachers concerns for a while expressed by the group, and that our district’s responses to those concerns, will help ensure that when we return to instruction that will be with a safe or ultimately instructive environment.

Unknown Speaker 44:20
Thanks. I appreciate that. And I want to while I’m thinking of it piggyback on something that you said, Don, bringing it back to the guidelines, the governor policies office, as sent out from the task force, you know, appreciated it started his guidelines, and I’m sure the rest of the board has has read them started out recognizing the the importance the critical importance of the role that public education plays, right and not only for our students academically but for our economy goes so far as to say, you know, that that children need to be in school because it’s impacting parents ability to Work that women have left the workforce in disproportionate numbers. I mean, it’s a it’s a it’s a pretty thorough assessment. But it does then go into specific guidelines that they’re saying that that schools should do. When I read over that, and it made me think when you set it to this comprehensive approach to safety, it made me think of that, when I read over those, those guidelines, I couldn’t find one that St. vrain wasn’t already addressing and doing. Am I accurate?

Unknown Speaker 45:32
Yes, and we did an assessment of that check cross reference in everything that they have recommended that we’re doing and more. Okay, we’re gonna continue to do that as well.

Unknown Speaker 45:42
Great. And that was very evident. I’m sorry, if I’m jumping around a little bit here. But I had an opportunity I was out. I was telling to go in the Erie feeder. Pardon me not area, you’re either Erie in the Frederick feeder system with Jackie, on Monday, and then Paula and Jackie today. I don’t know, seven schools, maybe Jackie, that’s just off the top of my head. And when we were in those schools, that’s absolutely what we saw that we saw. And I understand there not a lot of children in schools right now, there are some children. But everyone was wearing masks, there was hand sanitizer everywhere. We were seeing employees cleaning the office. I mean, there are arrows in the schools on an which way, you know, students should be walking at Coleridge, things like Lysa, for taking us on a tour today. They’re setting up their seating charts for the lunch room and all the students are facing one direction. Everybody has a specific spot where they’ll sit. I mean, and I’m just skimming the surface, I understand right now. But there, you really have implemented so many measures, and they absolutely aligned with the guidelines. I don’t, I can’t promise, nobody can promise that a school is 100% safe. But I absolutely believe that they’re as safe as they can be with all of the measures that are being implemented and have been implemented. And now you’re adding testing not only for staff, but for students as well. Yeah, it was. It was pretty Anyway, it was great to get out. And I have more thoughts, you know, as far as the school visits and whatnot, but I do want to give other board members an opportunity to talk as questions. Anybody. JOHN, and we’ll just go over and then go next. Thanks.

Unknown Speaker 47:29
Thank you very much joy. Um, you know, my mind spinning. Kind of like Joey says, We have so many questions. And right now, I’m going to start out by thanking the community, I think we were able to have these options, because the community has really abided by a lot of the facemask keeping distance. If we weren’t doing that, I think our numbers would be much higher. I feel like a little breath of fresh air. I mean, we’re not seeing the goalposts but at least we’re seeing the field right now. And that just makes me smile. I think our students deserve to be in school. I have supported every plan the district has put forth and because it aligned with the governor, the CDC, it aligned with the rules that were in place to keep us safe and keep us operating. But we all feel that the best place for our students is with teachers. I got to thank our teachers too. I mean, this is an incredible out what you’ve outlined for our teachers to do. You know, I hope we’re able to bring on the support, substitute teachers, maybe have some of the students be able to do mentoring. I know my son is always loved that. I know we had three substitute teachers we were trying to bring into the schools, the Saturday classes that after school, it is a Herculean task. But the students are worth it. Our teachers are showing they’re shining. It is it is something I have to thank them from the bottom of my heart. I think our students are are gonna are gonna really be able to show that this this school year is something they can be proud of. We’ve learned so many lessons. The students are learning how to navigate. crisis we never thought we were gonna have to do this pandemic has really shaken us to a reality of how much the schools bring to a committee. How much our teachers offer pathways to the future for opportunities, Joey was saying, the parents need to be in work, the students need to be in school and the teachers need to be teaching, I hope that we’re able to find not only that we can bring back our elementary schools. But we can also bring back some of our extracurricular and sports, which means so much to our students in terms of being able to commit to have the camaraderie with the other students in the school. That that’s something that I know has been sorely missed by many of our students. But this is a, this is a tough year, I am going to be glad to say goodbye to 2020 I’d be glad to support this measure to bring our students back. This is exactly what I was hoping was gonna open up and available or veil itself to us. And it does seem to be right there in front of us. And as I said, this isn’t the goal posts, but this is the field and we’re seeing it now. And I gotta say I’m I’m breathing a little bit easier, even with this mask on. And I’m smiling under neath here. And my thanks to the community. And my thanks to the teachers, the staff and the communication the district has had with the CDC and the governor and everyone who has really fought hard to make sure that we’ve navigated the high. I mean, I’m from the east coast. So I know what high tide is. And we have had the high tide come at us, drastically. And we have shown that we have resiliency, we’ve shown that we are listening to the options that have available ourselves. And and I’m so happy to our community and our teachers, I keep saying that again. But without them, we wouldn’t be in a position to do what we’re doing now. So thank you very much.

Unknown Speaker 52:13
Thanks, Joey. One other thing, too, that john said, that reminded me with our special needs students, even at the middle school level, and the high school level, they will have the option of four days in person. And then also this summer, again, we will be offering throughout the month of June, in person support, reading, writing math, through that same program that we’ve had in the past that we had to stop this last summer, because we were forced to do so we will reconvene that to help students as just another way of getting them caught up. And that will come at again, no charge to any students.

Unknown Speaker 52:52
Thanks, Tom. I appreciate it. Paul.

Unknown Speaker 52:57
Thank you. JOHN, thanks for that that report. I you answered most of the questions that I had, honestly. But I’ll just share my thoughts on it. I really to Joey and Dick’s comments about it being a very comprehensive approach. I I agree 100%, I really appreciate the approach in the in the fact that we don’t drop a plan, and say, here it is everybody. And then and then tried to defend it. We walk into it, we clearly start with a blueprint that’s driven by the science and by the the health experts, and by all the resources that the jelly mentioned. But then we share, we share it with our teachers, we share it with our community. And like you said, we’re just the last stop. But this is a vetted plan, we get all the emails, this is a highly vetted plan before the letter goes out. And I just really appreciate that approach. And the and the fact that we did tweak it along the way. And we don’t put we don’t put ourselves in a defensive position of dropping the plane and saying here you go. It’s It’s It’s much more transparent than that. So I do appreciate that. And then also, as far as the plan itself, couple of things I was looking for I’m seeing which I’m really happy about because the the feedback that I had gotten through the fall from several teachers was when we went to the hybrid particularly I’m going to call it the flex hybrid, but it was when we when we introduce the the synchronous option along with the hybrid. That was hard. I mean, I the just the anecdotal feedback that I was getting was that that was a hard shift for for teachers because it was also deep into the semester and we had had a you know, we were taking giant steps along the way and growing each time. But when that added some unpredict I know it was good for flexibility for families, but it added a lot of unpredictability into the system for the teachers they really weren’t sure who was going to show up each day. So particularly For the little guys, so the fact that we’re doing the, in the full time four days a week, for the K through five, I believe is really, yeah, not only supported by the science, but now we have the experience the look back to say this, we can support it with the data, but it’s something that we can and should do for the benefit of the students. And I, I believe that teachers for the most part, are on are on board with that. So I’m very happy, I’m very happy to see that. Also, Joey, and I did spend some time out in the freidrich feeder today. And I was I’m so happy I did that, because we’ve been talking about these kinds of things for months now. And it’s hard, it’s heavy, like, like, there’s all sorts of metaphors for john talked about high tide. But we’re, you know, we’re constantly wishing we had a crystal ball, trying to make the right decisions, trying to make it as flexible as possible for families trying to empathize with all of the positions that they’re in, trying to support the teachers. And when you walk in those buildings, even now when there’s, there’s just a handful of kids there that that needs to be, it was incredible, the work that the teachers were doing to watch them having the class on zoom, there was one teacher that actually had set up a treadmill in front of her screen, because she just wanted to, like keep herself moving.

Unknown Speaker 56:30
I thought that was brilliant. You know, people were dancing, like dancing in front of the in front of the screens. There were bus drivers that were cleaning that had the drill out and we’re doing maintenance. Completely, no pun intended, like retooling themselves, so that they could continue not only to be employed, but to contribute to the system. Joey mentioned a lot of the protocols that we saw that were in place that I know I had heard about over these last several months. But it’s just there’s so much it’s so complex, it’s so overwhelming that I had to walk in and see it nine months in and go oh, yeah, you know, like the ABC seating with and they get cleaned every night. And in the classrooms, the flow in the middle school in the lunchroom, it’s not a restaurant, it’s not a free for all, there’s lines and their spacing and their seating charts. And they took the doors off the lockers in the middle school, so they could still use them without touching them. Just so many examples of it Oh, the cohorting the specials in the elementary school, they’re not all rotating through PE and art and music like would normally happen. They they assign them every quarter, you’re going to do art and these cohorts are going to go in here. So it’s it’s that level of detail that I just want to reassure the public is has been thought about and is happening. And we’re doing everything, everything we can to keep staff and students safe. And we’ve and and now when the report comes out in December about from the taskforce, sure enough, like we can check every single box, and then some. So I’m very, very confident in this plan. Because I know every other plan has been very well thought out. And there’s certainly bumps in the road, I’m not gonna say it’s all it’s all perfect. But our team has come together and pull this off every step of the way. And not only have we said, for this entire nine months, that we were going to let the science be the tip of the spear, the science and the public health experts are going to lead us We also do have our own experience under our belt now. So we’re still going to stand on the science. But we’re also going to look and say, Okay, how do we bend this system without breaking it? You know, how do we what are we learning that’s going to stick what’s working what’s what are we learning is foundational and can’t be changed? It’s it’s just been an enormous experience. And I you know, I can’t thank our community and our teachers enough and your your guys leadership. And, you know, another thing I’m going to share publicly if people are unaware is if you look around the other big districts in the state, superintendents are quitting. Like, let’s be honest, the superintendent of DPS has gone, there is not a full time superintendent, or, you know, lead superintendent in Douglas County and jeffco poudre Valley is leaving, that is a pattern in my eyes like and that is something that the community at large should be aware of, that this is a big job and a big left and we can’t thank both of you, Don and Jackie, for being here and doing this work. Like with fidelity comprehensively with public input. Because I think, you know, our kids. There’s gonna we’re going to minimize the effect to every extent we can and we’re going to come out stronger as a school district, so I really can’t think Good enough. So I support this plan 100% I imagine there’ll be little tweaks along the way. They’re always they’re always are. But it’s definitely going in the right direction. And I think we’re doing the right thing for our kids in our community, while still trying to accommodate parents and keep everybody safe. So thank you.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:16
Thanks, Paul. Appreciate it. Can

Unknown Speaker 1:00:19
I, I don’t have too much to add, besides what’s beyond what’s already been said. But I just wanted to express my tremendous gratitude to our leadership, staff, teachers, our students, our community, our parents, everybody’s been so flexible, and patient and respectful. And I just look forward to the future, when we can look back on this at all the lessons that we’ve learned, and once again, you know, have so many things to celebrate, I just, you know, can’t express just how much I’m in awe of the work that’s being done. And, and thank you for keeping it going.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:03
Yeah, I also don’t have a whole lot of what to add, other than what’s been mentioned, but just want to also thank the the students and the parents and the teachers and, and the staff, and especially you, Don, for where we’ve been through, but also, for what we still have yet to go, right, the the hard stuff is not over, we’re not back to normal. This is still I like where we’re headed, and where we’re trending. But we have a whole semester still, that’s gonna probably have different, you know, not look normal and still have disruptions, it’s also want to thank people for caring what you say, just being respectful and, and doing the best they can, and especially the parents and teachers and students who are navigating new stuff all the time. And so I want to thank them for where they’ve been, and also where we’re going and, but also encouraged by where we’re headed. So

Unknown Speaker 1:01:59
you know, one thing I appreciate everybody’s acknowledgement of our community. You know, as we started this school year, off back in August, our teachers or staff, all of us, we kind of went through a virtual convocation, and we talked about just how important it is to keep moving forward. And to keep walking through the challenges because we knew we weren’t done and we’re still not done. But the one thing that, you know, I believe about this community is they have given, they have given this system so much. And this is, you know, 20 years that I’ve been in this system, and I remember back in 2008, this community opened their hearts and their wallets and their time, and they gave us the resources. And they did it again in 2012. And again in 2016. And they have been there for us every step of the way. And our teachers have been there for this community every step of the way. And so we’re going to keep showing up every day. And we’re going to walk through this and we’re going to get to the other side of it. And that’s what our team has committed to doing. And it is not easy. And we will make mistakes, for sure. And we have made mistakes. And but, you know, we just care deeply about this community. And so we’ll keep showing up every day. And I appreciate everything that you all are doing. And I appreciate our community, and I appreciate our teachers, and, you know, I’m getting ready to send a letter to our secondary students, you know, just thanking each of them for what they’ve had to go through. And I think if somebody were to ask me, what’s the hardest part about this whole thing, it’s just watching them have to go through this. It’s, it’s not, it’s not fair to them in any way, shape, or form. And I understand that it’s, it’s sometimes life throws you some hard curveballs, I do believe that they will come out of it better in the end with the life lessons around resilience and stick to itiveness and overcoming adversity, but it’s been really hard on him. So thanks.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:54
Thanks, Don, and Donna to go I’m glad that you brought that up. And when we were out in schools, you know, had an opportunity to pop into classrooms and talk to teachers and, and really, most of what I wanted to do was was really, to see the work in action, right, because as as board members were typically in classrooms, we’re in schools, you know, we’re much closer to the work and with COVID, we’re, we’re just simply not as close it looks a little bit different. And and there was this common theme among teachers that this is the hardest they have ever worked, but it’s absolutely worth it. And they’re willing to keep doing it. And the teachers that I spoke to are, they want children back in the classroom? This is, you know, I mean, they’re looking forward to seeing cats again. But absolutely the most hardest, you know, the hardest that they ever have worked. But what’s wonderful about St. vrain is pervasively. Everyone who is here in St. vrain is here because they do want to put children first And I think that’s very evident. When you go into the schools and Chico, you brought that up our community puts children first. And so important. You know, Donna, at the end of the day, when I sit up here, and I put my board of education hat on, I do think about what’s best for kids and, and also how what’s best for children, impacts teachers and family members, businesses, our community as a whole. And I absolutely believe that the best place for students to learn is in school. I understand that’s a broad sweeping statement. And there are some children who don’t learn best when they’re in a physical building. And particularly right now, there might be parents who choose not to send their children back to school in person. But at the end of the day, the district has strong alternatives for those parents with synchronous learning. And with lunch Ed as well. There is no perfect answer, we’ll never make a decision ever, as a board of education, or you as a superintendent on that will probably have 100% support necessarily, but particularly during this time, everybody’s on a different page, there really is no consensus. I would tell you anecdotally I hear most from parents who want children back in school. I think that that our community and honestly our state in our nation has a different appreciation for public education as a whole, and understanding of what needs to happen and the importance of kids being back in school. I don’t think that you can ignore we’ve followed all along the recommendations from Boulder County Public Health, and I don’t believe that you can ignore what they say I think, if they’re recommending it safe, as safe as possible, but that’s the best place for kids to be, then I absolutely think that’s what what you need to do. And it is supported. I already talked to, you know, the CDC cdphp. Governor polis, the guidelines across the board, but I just would reiterate that we do understand not all, not all parents will want to send their children to school. And that’s okay. And we have options for you, if that’s what you choose not to do. And so please reach out and take advantage of those. Thanks for your leadership, Don. Jackie, thank you to all of the building leadership. We have principals who are working so hard teachers who are working hard, you know, bus drivers, nutrition services, what did I read on that? How many meals has the district serve? It’s over a million since this started. I mean, just so many, I mean, it’s really it takes a village, right, and you have an entire school system that’s all on the same page moving in the same direction to support children and learning. So do you have any any questions done for the board? I think that we’ve made it clear. You know, we trust Boulder County Public Health in their recommendations. We appreciate teachers, you know, when we attended that teacher advisory meeting, also teachers were very supportive, some good questions that you were able to ask, like dick mentioned, I didn’t have any concerns. When I left there. Something that you did say, though, and I think is worth mentioning now is you said that you believe same brain has the very best best teachers in the state, and that you would put them up against anybody. And by golly, I absolutely believe that’s true.

Unknown Speaker 1:08:26
Without a doubt, and take it even further than that. And I mean that sincerely. I’ve seen teachers all over the country. And I’ve never experienced teachers that are selfless and as caring and giving and hardworking as our teachers in st reign. And I’d have to put our parents in that same boat, because what they’ve given our students to, and so it’s, it’s good. And I will continue to give you updates each week at our board meetings, I will continue to be reading with the county health departments every week, two to three times a week on the phone, and then usually once in person, but I will give you updates. I’ll let you know what the trends are showing in the areas that we are monitoring. And then and we’ll continue to keep our community informed.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:11
And as always, you’ll continue I know that you and Jeff talk, Zach from Boulder County Public Health, you talk multiple times each week. And so I know that you’ll continue to do that as well. And just one more time, you know, we hear we hear from a lot of parents as a board of education. And I just want parents to know that we hear you and I know this isn’t ideal. I know it’s hard. We’re all parents or grandparents, teachers. We understand and we know it’s not perfect, like you said dawn, but I do believe at the end of the day the school district has done everything it can to meet the needs of children and families and teachers and staff. And I know that you’ll continue to do so. Thank you. Alright, any final comments or question? questions before I asked for a motion for adjournment. All right, Karen, and a second. Second by john. All in favor, Aye. Aye. Thanks everyone. Be safe.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:15
Like you very much.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:19
Thanks again for this on my way home.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:24
Oh, BB rock.