Dear St. Vrain Valley Schools Families,
We are very excited to welcome our 33,000 students back to full in-person learning next week as we begin the 2021-2022 school year. I want to express my sincere gratitude for your continued patience and support as we have worked closely with our local and state health agencies on finalizing safety protocols for this year. I have also appreciated the numerous questions, comments, and feedback we have received from our community over the past several weeks. Parent, teacher, staff, and student perspectives continue to be valuable, alongside the direction of our public health experts. Our main priority is to ensure that students can learn in a safe and engaging school environment that minimizes significant disruptions such as quarantines and school closures. To this end, please carefully review the important information in this letter to best prepare your student for success this school year.
As was the case last year, the evolving nature of this health crisis will require us to remain flexible as we plan for the start of the school year and beyond. The Governor’s Office or our health agency partners could issue new guidance at any time that may require us to alter our plans.
Full In-Person Learning
This year, students will return to school for in-person learning with a full, five-day school week. Click here to access the academic calendar for 2021-2022. Families who prefer to continue with virtual learning still have the option to enroll in our LaunchED Virtual Academy which serves students in grades K-12.
2021-2022 Health and Safety Measures
St. Vrain Valley Schools will continue to implement a multilayered approach to ensuring safer school environments during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes high-quality air ventilation in all buildings, social distancing as much as possible, increased hand washing and sanitizing stations, and heightened cleaning protocols.
Additionally, we were just notified that Boulder County Public Health has mandated that all students in grades PK-12 wear a mask while inside of our school buildings, regardless of vaccination status. While I have received significant and conflicting opinions from our community regarding whether masks should be required, we must adhere to this order from our local health department. Toward this end, one important element of this order is that masking all students and staff while indoors will result in a significant decrease in classroom quarantines, which will serve to minimize disruptions to our students’ in-person learning. The health department has also indicated that higher risk activities, such as athletics and music programs, could still be subject to regular quarantine protocols.
Although we have a very high vaccination rate for our teachers and staff, they will also be required to wear a mask while indoors in our school buildings, regardless of vaccination status. This is to prevent any unnecessary quarantining of our teachers and staff for routine COVID-19 exposure.
Students and staff will not be required to wear masks outdoors. Accordingly, we will be strongly encouraging our teachers and staff to provide several outdoor learning experiences and breaks for recess, lunch, and physical activity, etc., throughout the day.
St. Vrain Valley Schools will allow for families to apply for a mask exemption if their student has any medical reasons that would make wearing a mask difficult or harmful to the student. Students who have a mask exemption may experience increased quarantines if they are exposed to COVID-19 at school. Please click here to download and complete the mask exemption form, which must be turned in to your school principal.
COVID-19 Case Tracking and Communications
This year, we will be notifying families regarding cases of COVID-19 in your school if your student is directly impacted. For families interested in tracking the case data related to their school, St. Vrain Valley Schools will continue to maintain a COVID-19 case dashboard on our website beginning August 17. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be updated on weekday mornings and quarantine information will be updated weekly on Friday mornings when school is in session.
St. Vrain Valley Schools continues to be required to follow the safety guidelines and quarantining protocols developed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and our local county health agencies. Our county public health department has assigned an epidemiologist and public health liaison to direct the quarantining process in St. Vrain Valley Schools. To support this and increase the district’s capacity for thorough and targeted case investigations, the district has assigned 18 registered nurses and 55 health clerks to assist in ensuring adherence to all quarantining protocols and safety guidelines.
This year, we have been assured by our local county health departments that we will experience significantly reduced student and staff quarantines as a result of their mask mandate. This will consistently support uninterrupted in-person learning for our students. Specifically, for any routine classroom exposure, students will not need to quarantine if they are masked while indoors at school. Each confirmed case of COVID-19 will be individually investigated and families will receive more detailed information regarding potential exposure if your student has been directly impacted. In the event a student is required to quarantine, they will be able to log in to their class(es) and observe synchronously from home or complete other teacher-directed assignments (synchronous learning will only be available for rostered classroom students who have been quarantined).
Additional School-Year Logistical Information
Please visit our COVID-19 website for additional information related to the start of the school year, including:
- Preschool Information
- Supporting Students with Disabilities
- Athletics, Activities, and Performing Arts
- Parent and Community Volunteers
- Innovation Center and Career Elevation & Technology Center Courses
- English Language Learners
- Nutrition Services
- Community Schools Childcare
Additional Academic Support
Our schools will continue to provide opportunities beyond the school day for students to further their learning and academic advancement. New for the 2021-2022 school year, we will be launching the Achievement Acceleration Academy (AAA), an after-school program focused on providing additional in-person instructional support and enrichment in language arts, math, and STEM for our elementary students. Additionally middle and high schools will continue to provide after-school opportunities for tutoring or other academic support. Please look for specific information from your school principal in the coming weeks.
Again, thank you for your continued partnership as we navigate the complexities of this global pandemic. Despite all of the challenges last year, it proved to be a successful and productive year, due in large part to our outstanding teachers, staff, students, and parents. I look forward to all of the incredible opportunities that await our students this coming year. If you have any questions, please check with your specific school principal, and you can also provide questions and feedback through our website’s Coronavirus Question/Feedback Form.
Don Haddad, Ed.D.