As all of you are aware, our lives, work places, businesses, public services and schools have changed drastically in the past weeks because of COVID-19.
First and foremost, I want to thank all the staff at Montezuma-Cortez School District for their efforts and dedication as we work our way through this challenging time. Everyone is doing their part to make sure our students and staff are taken care of.
Our technology department is working around the clock, maintenance and transportation staff are working to clean and sanitize buildings, teachers are adjusting to a new norm and preparing for online learning for our students, our nutritional services staff are busy preparing and delivering food to all students under 18 years of age, and the district office team is making sure paychecks are being issued and vendor invoices are paid.
Communication personnel are posting timely information on our website and district Facebook. My administrative team and principals are working with me continually. The school board is actively involved with information and decisions.
Although school sites and offices are closed to the public, critical staff is either reporting to work or working from home as the need dictates.
I, as superintendent, immensely appreciate all the hard work and dedication that all staff are exhibiting.
All of our schools are officially closed through April 30. However, our planning takes into consideration the possibility of schools being closed until the end of this school year.
The Colorado State Education Department has suspended the testing window for CMAS, Co-Alt, and PSAT/SAT until further notice. The state is working with the College Board on additional options for students who need to take the SAT for college acceptance purposes. The administrative team is participating daily in electronic meetings with various local, state and federal agencies involved with this crisis to keep abreast of the ever-changing landscape.
The Montezuma-Cortez School District Board of Directors met electronically March 24 for a special meeting. As usual, all board meeting agendas are posted on the district website with at least a 24-hour notice. With the new electronic meetings, the Zoom connection information is also posted on the website. This allows members of the public to attend via Zoom.
At the special meeting, the board adopted an emergency policy, BEAA – Electronic Participation in School Board Meetings.
It also approved a Resolution to Grant Emergency Powers to the Superintendent. This will be in effect at least until April 21.
Carol Mehesy, director of Human Resources, addressed the board with regards to what the district knows at this time and directives coming from state and federal agencies. These three areas were covered:
Providing contributing roles for all district employees.Supporting the health and wellness of our staff, students and community.Revising protocols, systems, and policies to comply with new and upcoming laws, directives and guidance.Jeanette Allen, director of curriculum, discussed plans for student learning to continue during the period all district schools are closed because of the coronavirus emergency. She has been working with leadership teams and principals on plans. Individual Chromebooks have been programmed so they can be placed with students in their homes. This will depend on the availability of the Chromebooks and formalized learning plans.
The district and our nutritional service department worked in collaboration with community partners to finalize plans to provide school meals in a new format.
Sign-up for meals can be found on the website toward the top of the front page. Please follow the instructions carefully.
Our school district is rising to meet the unexpected challenges as a community and district. Please be mindful of Gov. Jared Polis’ “stay-at-home” order, which will be in effect through April 11.
This will help our community slow the spread of COVID-19 and help lessen the impact on our health care providers.
The health and safety of our students, staff and communities remain a top priority for us. As we face these challenges together, I will be doing my best to provide staff, parents and the community with up-to-date information and with the reasons for our decisions.
We advise parents and community to log on to our district website at www.cortez.k12.co.us to keep abreast of new information being posted.
Lori Haukeness is superintendent of Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1. Reach her at email@example.com.