Questions on school plans
Douglas County school officials will decide whether to return full-time to in-person classes on Oct. 6. This meeting is not open to the public, and it is disappointing decisions will be made without public commentary. If it were open to the public, these would be my questions/concerns.
• The school year started with a hybrid virtual/in-person approach and allowed families to opt-out of in-person instruction. Some families have medical complex needs and risk thresholds between families can vary greatly. I hope this flexibility remains in place with this next phase.
• The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment COVID-19 Dial clarifies guidelines for loosening restrictions. What is less clear is when restrictions should be tightened. Deciding and communicating the criteria for school closures and quarantines would help parents plan for the likely event of school closures.
• Early notification of cases is key. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provides timely state and regional COVID updates, and the school district should do the same with granularity by school and grade. School closures due to weather are communicated effectively and immediately. We need to do the same for public health closures.
• We need continued commitment to public health safety — small class sizes, available hand sanitizer, distancing students and using masks. Washington State’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) states that if 95% of people wore masks, 45% of deaths would be prevented. Let’s all do our part.