Y-1 working on plan to return in the fall

Yuma School District-1 Board of Education meetings definitely are not getting any less complicated during the COVID-19 era.
Several delicate subjects were addressed during the Yuma-1 Board of Education’s regular monthly meeting at district headquarters, Monday evening — which included a group of teens rolling by on the sidewalk, knocking on the window and waving to the meeting participants as the gathering approached two hours in length.
Several heavy subjects were addressed — including approving nearly $700,000 in COVID-19 relief funds from the state, as well as approving the initial 2020-21 budget — but the one issue most community members are interested in was addressed by Superintendent Dianna Chrisman at the end.
Specifically, if there will be in-person school at the start of the new school year.
Chrisman told the board that Yuma-1 and the other schools in the county are working together on a plan in accordance with the Yuma County variance. She said Levi Kramer from Wray has been instrumental in the planning process, adding that his wife Jennifer Kramer has provided valuable insight as a Registered Nurse in the Wray Community District Hospital system.
The county’s schools are formulating a three-tiered response with the opening of school in the fall, geared toward approval by the Yuma County COVID Taskforce.
Chrisman said the key tier will be school resuming “as close to normal as possible” if there are no outbreaks in the county.
A middle tier would deal with possible in-person instruction disruption if there are positive cases, and the worst-case scenario deals with going back to remote instruction such as the county’s schools went through over the final two months of the last school year.
“Our intent is to start school as close to possible as normal unless there’s an outbreak,” Chrisman told the board.
She said developing testing protocols at the schools, as well as transportation, currently are among the bigger issues.
Yuma County had a total of 50 confirmed cases as of this past Tuesday afternoon, according to the Northeast Colorado Health Department’s latest update, since the first case was reported on March 18. Of those, there are 10 new confirmed cases in June, and three are figured to be active cases. There has been one new case in the past week. There was a spike in late May due to a relatively-minor outbreak in the county, which obviously was quickly contained.
There are still more than two months before the new school year resumes, however, so nothing is set in stone yet, particularly since the county’s communities, and school-related athletic activities, have been reopening in recent weeks. Following proper protocols will help toward everything staying the course.
Read more about Monday’s school board meeting in this week’s Pioneer.