Editor’s Note: This message was sent out on December 9, from Superintendent Karl Mueller to parents of CUSD students.
Thank you for continuing to share in supporting the safety of those within our community.
I want to provide further clarification behind yesterday’s decision to temporarily suspend on-campus experiences.
As you know, we have spent the school year working tirelessly to get our students back on campus and it may seem in some ways incongruent with our reopening goals to make the decision to temporarily close our schools. The determination was not taken lightly; however, it was easy to make with our focus on the ability to keep students and staff safe as our top guiding principle.
As stated all year, our best efforts to curb the spread of COVID are interdependent on the actions of those within our community. While we have no evidence of transmission occurring in any of our sites, we have positive (or presumed positive) cases across our district. We currently have three class cohorts in quarantine. In addition, we learned this week of five members of our staff, three of which serve multiple sites in our district, testing positive over the weekend. One is currently in the Intensive Care Unit.
A positive case sets in motion a series of required protocols, which must be followed while anyone with potential exposure remains in quarantine; contact tracing, cleaning, notifications, and awaiting test results are part of this process. Each positive case initiates work from multiple staff members across departments. We must respond with urgency. When this occurs concurrently, at multiple sites, the impact on our ability to respond appropriately is compounded.
As an example, a student tests positive and notifies the school on a Sunday. The child was in class on Thursday and Friday. We must notify and quarantine anyone who may have been in contact with that child on Thursday and Friday prior to allowing them back on campus. Then, in partnership with County Public Health officials, contact tracing begins and notifications are sent.
We have reached the point where our commitment to adhere to protocols is at capacity, and to exceed that would compromise our ability to keep our students and staff safe, which is our top priority.
Our district health team, serving as our COVID response experts responsible for overseeing every positive and potential positive case, determined that current conditions are unsustainable to keep staff, students, and facilities safe. The only prudent and responsible course of action to take was to temporarily suspend activity on campus in order to address and recalibrate. The risks are too high to not be confident in our ability to ensure a safe environment.
It is difficult to not have our students with us. We know the academic and social-emotional benefits of having them on campus. When our current conditions improve and we are confident in our ability to provide safe learning environments for students and staff, we will resume and continue to expand on-campus experiences. We are hopeful that this will occur when we return from Winter Break. Meanwhile we are confident in our BRIDGE distance learning program and our ability to continue to educate our students wherever they are.
We appreciate your grace and understanding as we navigate through these challenging times together; our commitment to connect, challenge, and champion every child, every day will not waiver.