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High school moves to temporary distance learning

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With over 100 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, the Roaring Fork School District (RFSD) is working to protect students and staff from the potentially devastating effects of the pandemic.

That means that Roaring Fork High School (RFHS) has closed in-person and moved to distance learning after a number of teachers, staff and students tested positive for the virus.
“We have determined that we do not have the staffing to safely keep our school open until impacted staff are released from their quarantine,” said Principal Lyn Bair. 

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She reported “We’ve had positive results, so we are following the district’s procedures,” and added, “We all hope this is temporary and can reopen soon.”

Presently, the change is just through Friday, Nov. 13. Updates will be distributed as soon as available.

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As Bair reported, some special populations will continue in-person learning. Students will still be able to receive school meals, internet support and other vital services. 

She added, “The kids are great. We have had a really good response from children and staff who have been very compliant and are following the rules of wearing masks, washing their hands and social distancing.“
When in-person learning starts up again, policies like having a three seat minimum separation from other students will be maintained, Bair said.

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Also, students will have their temperatures checked when coming to school. As over the past many months, parents, guests, visitors and unplanned volunteers will not be allowed.

According to RFSD Public Information Officer Kelsy Been, “Any time we have 16 or more people in quarantine, we send out a press release with information about the concerns and how we will respond to the situation.”

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Been noted only RFHS has switched completely to distance learning. Other schools reporting some exposure, Glenwood High School and Basalt Elementary School, are partially switching to distance learning.
She reported Glenwood Springs High School is transitioning 26 students and two staff people to distance learning because of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19.  Been explained that those being quarantined can return on Thursday, Nov. 19.

And the district has been notified of all those having been exposed.

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Also, Been said, Basalt Elementary School has moved 25 students back to distance learning because of a probable positive case of COVID per Eagle County Public Health. Those impacted are quarantined through Friday, Nov. 21. 

The district is adhering to strict procedures established for the crisis.The introduction to the procedures document states, “No schools will be operating in a business-as-usual manner for the foreseeable future, but we hope to shape positive school and learning experiences within a challenging new context.”

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However, the district reports the in-person learning model may be modified depending on current public health requirements.

Certain principles guide the district’s response. Chief among these is to “prioritize staff and community health, safety, and wellbeing over other principles.”

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Plus, preference is given to face-to-face learning over distance learning when officials determine environments are safe.

Importantly, families who need help with navigating the distance learning system can go to rfsd.k12.co.us and search for “distance learning help.” Those with difficulty meeting basic needs (food, housing, financial security, health care access, etc.) during the crisis can go to familyservices@rfschools.com or call 384-9500.

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