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Happy new year! I hope you enjoyed the holiday break and were able to connect with family and friends. We look forward to welcoming students tomorrow, Jan. 6, as previously scheduled. 

Once again, we find ourselves returning to school during a challenging COVID-19 environment. Undoubtedly, we, along with other organizations in our community and state, will face issues stemming from COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

However, this will not deter us from our goal of prioritizing in-person learning in the safest environment possible. We will come back together following the COVID-19 requirements listed in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Practical Guide for Operationalizing CDC’s School Guidance as referenced in the El Paso County Public Health’s (EPCPH) Schools and Child Care Supplemental Guidance (updated on Dec. 17, 2021).

As communicated before break, we continue to encourage staff and students to wear masks/facial coverings, but they are not required. But, please remember, per federal requirements, both students and staff on the United States Air Force Academy, or using district transportation, are required to wear masks/facial coverings at schools. We also honor that vaccination is a personal decision.  

To assist in sustaining in-person learning, we are suspending large assemblies of students and/or staff. Additionally, we encourage those who wish to wear a masks/facial covering to do so. We also ask that everyone adhere to proper personal hygiene practices such as frequent handwashing, coughing and sneezing appropriately, and social distancing when possible. 

It is important those who do not feel normal stay home. This is critically important after a possible exposure to COVID-19. 

Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate for a minimum of five days. Elementary school parents will be notified when a positive case occurs in their child’s classroom. 

Again, we are following the EPCPH Schools and Child Care Supplemental Guidance that was updated on Dec. 17, 2021. Visit the El Paso County Public Health website to review the full document.  

Schools reflect their larger community. As such, we anticipate continued staffing shortages especially with the emergence of the new Omicron variant. Unfortunately, these shortages due to illness may negatively impact a variety of important services in the coming weeks. In this unknown, and ever-changing environment, I ask for your flexibility and patience in advance. 

Thank you for your continued partnership and trust. I look forward to a successful and rewarding second semester.

Be well and be safe,

Tom Gregory