January In-Person Return to School Staggered

12-16-2020
 
Dear Caprock Families,
 
After much consideration, the admin team and I have made a decision concerning the start to school after Winter Break. We will be following what appeared to be a successful approach to the restart after Thanksgiving Break and will stagger the grades back to school. First the schedule, then the rationale:
 
Schedule:
K-5: K-5 will begin in person the first Monday after break on January 4th.

MS: Middle School (6-8) will begin remotely for the first week and return to in-person learning the second Monday, January 11th.

HS:  High School (9-12) will begin remotely for the first two weeks and will return to in-person learning the third Tuesday (that Monday is a holiday), January 19th.
 
Rationale:
         The rationale behind this decision included our experience throughout the first semester, the effectiveness of our approach to the return after Thanksgiving Break, and the state of the surrounding community (high spread, though appearing to taper off).
 
         First, while there have been several student cases, very few of them have occurred in the K-5, and we don’t have any confirmed cases of school based transfer at these grade levels. It appears that the K-5 have been very safe places for the students to be so far, and the benefits of them being at school continue to outweigh the low possibility of COVID transfer in the classroom.
 
        Second, we know that about a dozen students tested positive as a result of contacts that they had with family over Thanksgiving Break in the Middle and High School classes, but were mitigated because we had delayed the start of school for both of these age groups after that holiday.
   
       We also know that it is difficult to move between in-person and remote with little time to plan, and hope that by planning for these weeks to be remote learning for the students, we will minimize the number of cohorts that will need to be sent home due to positive exposures as a result of more widespread contact during the holiday break.
 
       Additionally, I know that District 51 has elected to begin K-12 in-person at the beginning of January. There are several factors that we feel are different for our school community that call for a slightly different approach to the start of the 3rd Quarter, including the fact that District High Schools have been remote learning since before Thanksgiving Break and those students need some in-person learning time, even if it is just for a week or two. Our hope, as always, is that our decisions about the start of the quarter will gain us more planned in-person learning time, as well as help mitigate the spread after the holiday season. Please be aware that these plans could change given changes in the community COVID-19 situation.
 
Thank you once again for you continuing support. We hope you can have a restful and rejuvenating Holiday Break!
 
Best,
 
Andrew Collins
 
Head of School