On June 9, the Salida School Board met for their regular meeting to discuss how school will look in the fall. Though no set in stone decisions have been made, the Board is looking at multiple options with the help of the Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom.
Carlstrom explained “It is important to note that we have never done this before. Ever. So we are writing the playbook of what it means to respond to a pandemic. It is also important to note that we are not out of the woods.”
“We just completed part one, which will most likely have a part two or even part three event. I think it’s important to set that stage” Carlstrom went on to say.
Public health’s goal is harm reduction. The safest way to proceed is staying inside and social distancing, however, this is not sustainable. The school board says that it will proceed with this idea in mind. The goal is to hopefully never go back to a safer at home situation.
Recent data shows that “there is a large possibility that it will be safe come fall to open schools at a greater sense than imaginable a few weeks ago, let alone a few months ago” Carlstrom explained.
The model the board is currently using for school openings in the fall was created by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Governor’s office. The model is broken down by what social distancing measures are needed depending on the current outbreak numbers. It is a framework that will help guide decisions and planning that the board will continue to do during their next meetings.
Interactions need to be cut by 50 percent in order for the state to remain at 65 percent of people practicing social distancing. They are looking into the use of masks and how strict social distancing measures will be. The Board is focused on risk management and the health of the community as a whole.
An Early Warning Dashboard broken down county by county that compiles hospitalization rates and case data will allow the team a better idea of how to proceed. The governor’s office hopes to have the dashboard complete within the next few weeks.
Superintendent David Blackburn said, “I wanted to just share that model; I want the community to know we’re working very closely with [Chaffee County] Public Health as their information is getting better.”