“We’re going to be ready on Feb. 8. We’re going to need the community’s help to make that possible.”
That was the message Superintendent Gerry Washburn released to members of the community on Monday morning in a video posted to the school district’s web page and Facebook page. Washburn also uploaded a longer video outlining the specifics of the school’s plan, which will involve two days of in-person instruction a week and online for three days. Students will be divided into two groups based on last name.
Washburn said the school district will require everyone attending the hybrid classes to wear masks and respect social distancing policies. The school district’s online-only program is also going to continue. Students who want to withdraw from the online only program and join the hybrid class are asked to do so by Feb. 15. There are still an enormous number of hoops to jump through and variables to address, Washburn stated, but he thanked members off the community for their continued assistance.
The school district has contracted with a company to apply a special solution to all surfaces in the schools to help keep everything clean. All buildings have been inspected by the fire marshal, and air filters are in place. However, Washburn noted that COVID-19 numbers, while in decline, still remain high for Eddy County. Under current guidelines, a school will be closed for 14 days if there are four consecutive cases in a school.
“Our challenge is not reopening our schools,” he wrote. “Our challenge is keeping the number of cases in our schools down so we can keep our schools open.”
What it all boils down to is that we should all do everything we can to continue to support our students and school district. The process will certainly not be without additional roadblocks, but we can come through it as a community. Please be patient with educators who are attempting to make an incredible number of changes between an online program and a hybrid program, while still continuing with an online program. It’s also important to remember that this is the first step of a process to get thing back to normal. Help us also keep the COVID-19 case count in Eddy County down – by wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings whenever possible. We really do believe we are finally moving out of this COVID-19 pandemic. There were 13 new cases in Eddy County on Sunday and 530 in the state. That’s a lot better than the numbers a month ago and hopefully a good sign that we’re headed in the right direction.
From the office of Mayor Dale Janway