Superintendent Communication for Staff and Community, 12/11/2020

 

 

Dear Bayfield Family,

 

In the spirit of the Holiday Season and being on the verge of a new year, I believe in the spirit of hope and optimism and I want to recognize and celebrate how much we have all accomplished in less-than-ideal circumstances. Thank you for your support of the Bayfield School District. While I do not want to minimize the difficulties that our students, families, and communities are currently facing, I am choosing to focus this communication on the many positives and bright spots of the year and how we are continuing to move forward as thriving Wolverines.

 

To our teachers and all Bayfield staff, I also extend admiration, gratitude, and respect. I want to especially thank our nutrition, maintenance, health aides, custodians, and transportation professionals who have worked so hard to keep our schools open. For all of us as a district, this year has been filled with many firsts and triumphs. Instead of being intimidated by the challenges, problems, and technologies, our staff has stepped in to engage, innovate, and maximize our efforts in order to serve our students and our families and truly exemplify, Each Student, Each Day: Wolverine Way.

Our parents, guardians, and community caregivers are amazing as well, and we gratefully acknowledge their support and sacrifice. At a time when careers and household duties are balanced with creating and supporting learning for our students, we recognize our parents, grandparents, and guardians are important partners during this complex school year.

In Bayfield Schools, we also have the pleasure to serve a caring community that has stepped up to support our schools. Our larger community is close-knit and special and always ready to lend a hand to our schools and our district. We are so very fortunate for our extended Bayfield Family.

COVID RESPONSE

Our primary goal for this school year has been to offer as much in-person learning as possible knowing that our COVID response will change over time.

 

Our community overwhelmingly favors having in-person learning and schools open, so we must continue to ensure we update our COVID responses to keep our students in school. Students wearing masks at K-5 is an update to ensure more days of in-person learning. Keeping schools open is the best thing for the social-emotional support and academic success of each student. In keeping with our theme of social responsibility, if a member of a household is getting a COVID test or has COVID symptoms, please do not send the children in that household to school.

 

La Plata County has moved to COVID threat level RED. Furthermore, having all students wear masks is a measure to reduce close contacts and keep more students and staff in school. Our staff also views this change as a key measure for their safety. As superintendent, I have the servant leader role to consider the students and the staff in our decisions. No one likes masks, and we have heard the numerous concerns about them, but please know the K-5 mask enhancement was sanctioned by all principals and by our Board of Education as another measure to keep schools open. In addition to gathering community and staff concerns with surveys and polls, please know that health and safety decisions are made with careful review and thoughtful deliberation of the most current data available. 

 

The board and I have heard our community concerns. This spike in transmission will pass as mitigation transforms and when the county returns to a lower threat level, even ORANGE, we will immediately no longer require masks at K-2, and we will revisit the mask decision for 3-5 students. We cannot have it both ways during a pandemic; staying in school and expect nothing to change.  

 

As I have stated from the beginning, the courageous and students-first decision is to keep schools open, but also know that temperature checks, health screenings, no visitors in school buildings, added cleaning, hand washing, and yes, masks are part of the inconveniences to keep our young people and capable staff in school.

 

JANUARY 2021

We intend to return to in-person learning for all grades on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. During this current three-week period between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, we have facilitated the home-bound learning of a few students at each school by sending assignments to the house. As this practice is a huge burden on our teachers, this home-bound option will be ending this month. We know that a number of families may have to make difficult educational decisions for the next semester, so please reach out to the principal or counselor at each school with your family’s next instructional steps and concerns for 2021. We are committed to working with families to transition back to in-person learning for the Spring semester.

 

REMOTE LEARNING

CDLS remote students currently enrolled have been registered for the spring semester, but there will not be an option to return from CDLS to in-person learning at our schools until next August. In other words, students who begin the January semester in CDLS will need to finish the semester in CDLS.

 

ACTIVITIES ATHLETICS

The Colorado High School Activities Association has moved the second sports season, Season B, one month later. Games were originally scheduled for the first weekend in January.

 

Season B: 7 Weeks (Training until January 25. Competition – February 1 - March 20)

  • Boys and Girls Basketball
  • Boys and Girls Wrestling
  • Spirit (Championship Weekend March 25-27)

We will also decide on the next steps for Bayfield Middle School athletics in January.

 

POSITIVE OPPORTUNITIES

COVID has the silver lining to allow us to help our youngest citizens realize that when we encounter life’s challenges, we embrace them, we make adjustments, and we move forward with grace and persistence. How we handle this brief period in history will ensure our young people know how to handle a life filled with both opportunities and challenges. Our students are watching and learning from our example. Our students and children need us to be adaptive, positive, and supportive to fill their lives with hope, strength, and grit. 

So, as we close the year and head into 2021, let us take a moment to recognize and celebrate what is noble and right in our school district and in our community. This year has not been perfect and we realize, every day, that we cannot make everyone, or sometimes anyone, happy or satisfied.  Let’s remember this year is in no way a failure or a defeat as our children are being taught by an inspiring staff and led by a resilient community.

I wish all of you a wonderful Holiday Season and the happiest New Year. Thank you for playing an important role in our many successes.

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year,

Dr. K. Kevin Aten

Superintendent of Schools

Bayfield School District

"Each Student, Each Day: Wolverine Way"

#bsdwolverine