• An Update on the District Impact from COVID-19

    Posted by Michael Hausmann on 11/6/2020 10:45:00 AM

    Dr Marc Schaffer

    Dear Thompson Community:

    I hope you are doing well during this early Fall season.  I want to provide you with an update on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our school district.

    As you know, the pandemic has provided school districts with an opportunity to carefully examine how we are instructing students and how we can do that work in an environment where being in-person with students and staff is not always possible.  I am proud of all of the work that we’ve invested in our remote-learning and Thompson Connect Online programs.  Together with our in-person attendance options, the programs offer families an ability to choose an academic pathway that works best for them.  While transitions have certainly not been perfect, there has been consistent and measurable improvement as the school year has proceeded. We will continue to refine and improve our programs, with added and updated technology, as we move forward.  Recently, we rolled out a survey to our families asking them to register their choice for the upcoming second semester.

    At the county level, there has been a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases throughout the community.  A few of these cases have directly impacted our schools, which has forced some of our students and staff to enter isolation or precautionary quarantine to help keep people safe. Our district website contains a page (located HERE) that tracks this process, which allows our community to see how the virus is affecting our schools.  The number of isolations and quarantines in our district has risen in recent weeks.  However, we are encouraged that the number of people who are testing positive for the virus while in that process is extremely low. This tells us that the system is working well overall and that it will continue to be a valuable prevention tool as we move through the school year. 

    When students and staff members go into isolation or quarantine, it often creates a need for substitute staff to assist within the buildings.  Teachers are usually able to continue with their duties remotely. However, there is also often a need for an on-site staff member to be physically present in the classes during their time away.  Our district team has taken numerous steps to increase the number of substitute staff in the system and at this time, we have been able to fulfill the need as it arises. We are mindful that depending on how the pandemic continues to affect our community, it may create a growing stress on our substitute pool.  At this time, we are comfortable with how it is being utilized and we will continue to monitor it as we move forward.

    Larimer County has created a data dashboard that provides the public with the latest COVID-19 tracking information (larimer.org). It is a useful web page to monitor, as it provides important details on how the virus is impacting our community as a whole.  It is important to note that Thompson School District, just like other school districts in Colorado, operates on a completely separate system of guidance that assists us with the management of our buildings.  Because of this, while the county’s data dashboard is a great way to monitor how the virus is affecting the community overall, it is not necessarily indicative of how prevalent the virus is within our school community.  We will continue to partner with our team at the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment to monitor our current protocols and identify other options that can enhance student and staff safety.

    This is certainly an extraordinarily challenging time and I realize that it has a large impact on all of our students, families and staff.  If you have any questions or if there is anything we can do to assist, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

    Dr. Marc Schaffer
    Superintendent
    Thompson School District

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