Holiday Message from Superintendent Colvard

Holiday Message from Superintendent Colvard
Posted on 12/19/2020
Happy Holidays from Stevenson-Carson School District!

Dear Community,

I want to take a moment to thank you all for you incredible support and partnership through this very unusual year. We have had many challenges in 2020, but through it all, there has never been a doubt that the students of the Stevenson-Carson School District are surrounded by a loving, caring community that will do anything necessary to help them succeed. The next two weeks of winter break give a chance for rest and rejuvenation. It is my wish that every family can find joy in this season and look forward to a new year that brings health and opportunity. 

I realize that we all need information so we can plan for the coming weeks. Many of you may have heard some of the new guidelines for school opening decisions. I have been in meetings with regional superintendents and public health officers so we might work together to determine what this guidance means for each district. Unlike many others in our state, our school district had a significant number of K-8 grade students already back for in-person learning. Our temporary pause that resulted in a return to remote learning was based on the COVID and quarantine status of staff, as well as health metrics. We simply could not staff our schools or prevent school-based transmission due to the specific health issues of personnel without a temporary closing of buildings. This would have happened under the new guidance as well. 

The great news is, that this new guidance supports us moving back to in-person learning quickly as soon as health metrics improve. We do not have to go back very gradually, especially for elementary learners. If we can staff our buildings and follow safety protocols, we no longer have to transition back and forth as case numbers change, which will bring greater stability. The specifics will depend on both our county case numbers and the testing positivity rate. I am hopeful we can get our K-8 learners back quickly. We need two weeks of lower case data and staff wellness after New Years to return safely, which will bring us to a possible return on January 19th (January 18th is a holiday). I will keep everyone updated with our most current data right after the new year.

Another positive impact of the new guidance is the possibility of bringing high school students back more quickly. We need case numbers to stabilize at 200/100,000 or less, and test positivity rates below 10%, which is much less stringent than the previous recommendations. This change is based on updated science and understanding of COVID transmission. Today we are at 306.8/100,000 with test positivity at 20.5%, so there does need to be improvement. I can't give a date yet, but we are hoping that second semester can include in-person learning just as soon as possible. We are planning for this and will be ready as soon as it can happen. I know how badly our students need to be in school, and this is our top priority. No matter what, all families will continue to have a remote-only option this year. It is critical every family needs the ability to make the best decision for their unique situation. 

No matter what decisions are made, some will be disappointed. I realize that the challenges for families are often overwhelming. Community opinions vary dramatically, but schools can only open when all criteria can be met. We have to follow guidelines and be able to adequately and safely staff our schools. I want to reassure you that I will always have our schools open at the earliest possible opportunity, and am happy to discuss more detail if there are questions. For now, I ask for your continued support as the wellbeing of our youth is our shared top priority.

My husband, Duane, and I thank you for the warm welcome we have received as new community members. We love it here and look forward to continuing to settle in and making deep connections. We truly never want to leave. We will enjoy a quiet holiday this year, but reflect in gratitude on being in this very special place. May you have health, peace, and joy now and always!

Warm Wishes,

Ingrid Colvard