by Bill Knowles
TRINIDAD — The Trinidad School District has submitted plans for reopening to the Las Animas and Huerfano Counties District Public Health Department and is still waiting approval of the plan by public health officials.
During a special meeting last Thursday board members discussed the issue without taking any action following the infection of a 14-year old female with COVID-19.
“Determining how to open school in 2020-2021 is not an easy decision,” school superintendent Dr. Bonnie Aaron said in a press release. “In fact, it is one of the most complicated and difficult challenges any of us has ever faced.” The decision to reopen was made after collaboration among the COVID-19 Reopening Committee, which is made up of district staff, and consideration of the input from a parent survey.
The Board of Education passed a hybrid type of opening that would divide the students and teachers into two separate cohorts, “A” and “B”. Cohort “A” will physically attend school on Monday and Tuesday followed by in-home schooling. Cohort “B” will physically attend school on Wednesday and Thursday while schooling online Monday and Tuesday. This would allow for social distancing while students were at school.
Students who ride the bus to school would be temperature tested by parents in the morning before boarding the bus and all students will wear masks. When they arrive at school their temperatures will be taken by authorities. If the student has a temperature or shows other symptoms of coronavirus, they will be sent to an isolation room.
The other item for discussion was school sports.
Currently the school’s sports program is at the mercy of Colorado High School Activities Association or CHSAA (See related story, page 6.) CHSAA protocols for COVID-19 for some sports, such as football, are still being worked on and are awaiting approval by the state’s COVID-19 Action Team. Currently boy’s golf, boy’s tennis, and softball teams can start training. Word on the start of other sports is still pending.
As for what happened when students began volleyball practice late last month, it was found that CHSAA protocols weren’t followed and temperatures weren’t taken. Protocols indicate that a temperature under 100.3 is acceptable but at or above the student has to go into isolation. As student activity began the student who was later diagnosed with COVID-19 began to feel sick and went home.
And like regular school days, staff will have personal protective equipment when they are checking students for symptoms. And if a student is found to have symptoms and Public Health requires a test for COVID -19 there will be a 9 to 14 days lag time on receiving test results. According to Las Animas Huerfano Counties District Public Health Department, “We’re short of tools, the supply chain isn’t good supply. The supplies we’ve received for testing are broken or unusable. We initially asked for districts to push back start dates or start on line”.
As for the reopening plan the board of education didn’t vote on or approve any actions. Right now, the name of the game is “wait and see”.