Dear students, staff, families and community,
I am writing this update a day ahead of my usual weekly community message, because much has changed that I want to make you aware of. As everyone is now well aware, our county is seeing an unprecedented number of COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the Omicron variant, and our schools are being heavily impacted by this. Last week the number of positive cases on our campuses nearly doubled, with a current reported number of 118.
The following changes to activities and learning were made this week, all due to high numbers of positive cases;
6 classrooms at Blaine Primary School have moved to remote learning
8 classrooms at Blaine Elementary School have moved to remote learning
Beginning tomorrow, Friday, January 21st, all students in grades 6-8 are moving to remote learning
Middle School Boys Basketball has been paused
In addition to these changes, the status of the district as of today included 455 students absent from learning, or 23%, with each individual school building having an absence rate of at least 20%. This has made for a large number of students who currently do not have access to the in-building learning environment due to isolation or quarantine. There were 78 staff members (23%) absent today across the district, with at least 20 of those positions going unfilled. Our staff members are doing literally everything they possibly can to keep our buildings operating, but I fear a breaking point is very near.
In addition to the cohorts of students listed above, several more classrooms and grade levels are being monitored for a potential move to remote learning. At this point every family should prepare for a temporary move to remote learning, as things are unfolding rapidly. We will be making a decision about remote learning for next week by the end of the day tomorrow. If you need assistance with a hot spot for connectivity, please complete our Tech Help form right away.
While the Omicron variant is not causing as many instances of serious illness, and that many people are recovering quickly, I am also aware that not all of our families are having that experience. Above all things, we want our students, staff and their families to be healthy and happy. We are wishing all those who are ill a very speedy recovery.
As I get to experience our staff members pulling together across the district to step in wherever they are needed and doing everything they can to support our students and families during this time, I am reminded that it is indeed a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.
Dr. Christopher Granger
Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!