Transcription for the visually and hearing impaired:
Dr. Bill Burman: So the concerning news you’ve heard I’m sure over the last couple of days around Denver, around the metro area, around the entire state, and indeed around the entire region … case rates have increased, Denver specifically is now in what’s called Safer at Home – Level 3 – the so-called orange zone of the COVID-19 dial of the state of Colorado. And that’s just an indication that community transmission is quite active, and at a level that requires a reimposition of a number of social distancing measures. So, those are happening with Level 3 Safer at Home. So, decreases in any gathering size. Additional restrictions on businesses. All to try to help us restore control of COVID transmission in our community.
Within that certainly concerning news, there’s some good news as well. Susana mentioned some specific figures, but I think they add to a growing picture that we’re getting from DPS, from other school districts in the metro area, and indeed from around the country that schools can be safe places even during times of quite substantial community transmission when we follow the basic layered prevention measures (The DPS Five). So again, it’s just additional affirmation that these layered measures of symptom screening, rapid evaluation of symptomatic staff and kids, masking, distancing, hand-washing, moving activities outside whenever possible. They work, when we put them together – layer them together – and they can work even in times of quite substantial community transmission.
And let me just close my initial remarks with a sense of our shared responsibility. As Susana said, the schools are not what’s driving transmission in our community. Rather, the schools are affected by the current level of community transmission. And the implications of that are clear. The responsibility for being able to safely reopen schools for all grades in our community is on each of us. On each of us to do those perhaps somewhat tiresome, but necessary basic prevention measures in all of our lives.
Dr. Steven Federico: Our students are losing out on the opportunity to have in-person learning because of our failure as a community to keep COVID rates down. And I think we need to work harder as a community to come together, to work together to do the things that we know work to drive the rates down so that we have fewer cases of COVID coming from the community into our schools promoting disruption. There’s no question our students will be better off when we can get them back in person for a number of reasons. And we weigh this every week. We look at the rates, we look at the number of disruptions that are happening, and think about all of the great advantages that come from school. They’re difficult questions, and the conversation changes over time. And I hope that these new changes that are coming out as a result of being in Level 3 will drive the rates down over several weeks, and we can return to in-person learning if we get to a better space.
Children in general are quite resilient, and we need to give them credit for that resiliency. And we need to affirm that resiliency as caregivers. I think children very much appreciate predictable routine, and so developmentally for the ages that we’re talking about specifically – the older elementary school age (Grades 3-5), to recreate that routine as much as we can in the home setting while children are learning online, I think is essential. So, having a routine where your child wakes up, eats breakfast, gets dressed as if they’re going to go to school, has a designated work space that is their defined space, and when they do have breaks either between school or after school, that you recreate that outside play time. That socialization that can still happen safely with spacing and outside.
You know, similarly, the advice in addition to providing your child support on the emotional side, is also to support as a community the things we need to drive down COVID rates so we can get back to in-person learning. The onus of that is on us. It is not on other people. It is on us as a community and we need to hear that as we move to more restrictions and abide by those. Because the more that we can come together and abide by those recommendations that we know scientifically work, the sooner we get back to in-person learning. I very much think that’s an important part of the message we’re trying to send today.