Monticello Schools are going full remote effective Wednesday, November 18 and that will last until Friday, December 4.
In a letter sent to parents on Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman indicates 20% of the student population is in close-contact quarantine in addition to 14% selecting at-home learning. That makes over 1/3 of the students on remote plans.
Dr. Zimmerman adds quote - "Our teachers are managing three different learning plans when we add in the temporary remote students. We had some high close contact numbers last week and we had six new positive cases over the weekend. We are not seeing any significant COVID spread occur within our schools – our positive cases come from outside of school activities which cause students/employees to have to quarantine as close contacts. This over-stretches teachers in addition causing six employees to close contact quarantine for two weeks since Friday. We continue to be diligent with safety measures in school and we know that being in school is the safest place for our students. We consider making it to this point in the school year a success with five days a week of instruction."
The veteran school leader was critical of decision making away from the school setting, adding quote - "Frankly, some adult decisions outside of school are causing this school closure to occur. I get that we are all COVID-weary and we want to live our lives – but we cannot 'have our cake and eat it, too' (following all safety measures inside of school for 25 hours a week and then attending non-family social gatherings, playing travel ball, and ignoring safety guidelines for the other 143 hours in a week will not work). As we approach Thanksgiving with our families, I would encourage you to continue to follow safety guidelines to the greatest extent possible."
November 18 will be a remote learning transition day meaning lessons will be posted on Google/Seesaw and no live instruction will take place. The district will be fully remote through Friday, Dec 4, and re-opening in-school learning on Dec 7. The letter also indicates they will plan for in-person and at-home learning plans to resume Dec 7-Dec 22 which will be twelve days of instruction prior to Christmas Break.
Dr. Zimmerman wrote, quote "I feel that it is better for us to go remote in smaller chunks of time so we can consider the local school COVID data as we make future decisions. I understand the potential hardship that going 100% remote will put on some of our families due to parents' work schedules. Now is a great time to again come together as a community and help a neighbor or friend out. There will be no access to Kirby RAPID COVID testing while we are on remote learning."
Dr. Zimmerman expressed his pride in the students that have been in-person and are following the safety guidelines. He also expressed his appreciation for their staff and their work to not only educate their kids in unprecedented times but also keeping the buildings clean and sanitized.