COVID Update 11-20-2020

COVID Update 11-20-2020
Good Evening Gateway Families,

This is superintendent Jim Harrell. This is going to be a rather long message, but I ask that you listen carefully through the entire message that has very important information about the COVID pandemic and our schools.

I want to begin this message expressing my heartfelt gratitude for the entire Gateway staff that has been working so hard to facilitate learning across the entire district during this difficult time. Teachers, support staff, and administration at every level are working tirelessly. Your dedication to do what is best for students in each of our programs has been extraordinary. Rest assured that it is not unnoticed. 

In collaboration with the Gateway Board of Trustees, myself and the district leadership we will continue to monitor the COVID situation. This includes working with Shasta County Public Health and the State Health Department. Our goal is to continue to offer face to face instruction as best as possible along with our other programs. Each day we evaluate the effects of the COVID pandemic in relation to our schools. As you are aware, our county is experiencing a surge in COVID cases. The Gateway School District has encountered both students and adults that have either tested positive, experienced symptoms or have been identified as close contacts to someone that has tested positive. When these situations arise we have to conduct contact tracing which is very time consuming and difficult. With all of this we have been experiencing staff shortages at our school sites which has led to moving some schools to distance learning for a reset period to allow staff and students to complete either isolation or quarantine periods as mandated by SCPH.

At this time based on what we know, we believe that most, if not all, students and staff will be out of the isolation or quarantine periods by the time we return from the Thanksgiving break. This would allow all school sites to return to FTF instruction on Monday November 30th. This is the goal. Having that said, we will continue to monitor the situation and if we continue to receive information that indicates that we still need more time to get through the process we may extend the DL time periods. We will notify parents and students as timely as possible. 

I would also like to note that the State Public Health Department has released some new guidelines for public schools due to the surge of COVID cases in California. At first reading these guidelines may cause school sites to be more restrictive with face coverings and social distancing. If this is the case, there may be cause to move the district into DL due to not being able to facilitate the guidelines. We are still collaborating with Shasta County Public Health to get further direction. 

Again, as you can see, the COVID pandemic is a very difficult situation to manage. Our goal is to continue to offer face to face instruction as one of our instructional models, while exercising an abundance of caution for both staff and students. 

Thank you for taking the time to listen to this message.

Allow me to conclude by wishing each and everyone of you a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving. 

Take Care and Be safe!
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