Grand County school districts adapt to coronavirus closures
Grand County’s school districts are doing what they can for students amid the rapidly changing situation related to the coronavirus outbreak.
East and West Grand school districts announced over the weekend that both would be closing through April 5. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health, school closures are one of the most powerful ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. While children are thought to be at a lower rick for severe disease from the novel coronavirus, they can easily spread it to others.
West Grand’s spring break was this week, giving the school district a chance to arrange plans for the two weeks following the closure. As for East Grand, the larger of the two districts, teachers and staff are also trying to arrange district functions for the month.
East Grand Superintendent Frank Reeves said the district is in the process of deciding how to continue education, which will likely vary depending on grade level. The schools have released plans for what classes will look like on the EGSD Daily Briefing.
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While the high school level will be trying to continue with the curriculum as much as possible, the younger levels will focus more on enrichment activities to keep students active and engaged.
“Mostly we just really want to focus on the health and safety of kids,” Reeves said.
West Grand is surveying parents via ParentSquare to ask about accessibility and food services so the district can plan accordingly. West Grand is also looking at continuing education via digital options after spring break ends.
East Grand has begun offering Grab and Go meals for any students, daycare or preschool children involved in the district. The meals are free to all students who live in the East Grand School District and are available during regular school days.
West Grand will also be providing lunch and snacks beginning March 23, but details have not yet been released.
The biggest concern for the districts is how students will be affected without the regular interactions associated with school. Reeves’ biggest piece of advice is: reach out.
“They call it social isolation. We would rather call it physical isolation,” Reeves said. “Remain social, reach out and talk to people… anything you can do to stay socially active while physically isolated. We’re mostly worried about the physical and mental health of our students (rather) than making sure that classes get done right.”
Reeves said the district is not yet sure what might happen if the closures extend beyond April 5 and how school might look at that point. The constantly changing guidance and situations have meant the districts must take things day by day.
For families needing immediate food assistance, Mountain Family Center is continuing services throughout the virus outbreak and can be reached at 970-557-3186. East Grand has also provided support to students that may need access to the internet or elementary students who need a device at home.
Both districts are posting regular updates about continuing education, meals, services and other relevant information on their websites and Facebook pages. Reeves asked that families remain as flexible and patient as possible in this changing landscape.
“We’ve never done this either,” Reeves said. “Everybody is on board to help and support kids and our families as much as possible.”
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