It looks like the students of Thompson School District are about to a bit of a sense of normalcy again. In fact, the data points that the district, along with Larimer County, have been considering suggest that even 5-day weeks for middle and high school students are possible.

March 22, 2021, will be the start date for middle and high school students to return to full-time, in-person learning, according to a statement from the school district on February 25, 2021.

I attended elementary, junior high (middle school) and high school in Loveland (once known as Lincoln, Conrad Ball and Loveland High, respectively), so keeping up on the district's plans is a part of my 'wheelhouse.'

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The first question I had was, 'Why is it OK to go full-time in-person now?'

The district answered that in their statement:

The decision to bring students back to a full in-person schedule is based on the following:

-COVID-19 Testing Positivity Rate
As of February 24, Larimer County’s “14-Day Test Positive Percent” is at 4.4%.  This number is substantially lower than earlier this season when the rate was over 10%.  What this means is that the detectable impact of the virus has lessened in recent weeks, thanks in part to steps that our community took to help mitigate the spread. Meanwhile, our Thompson School District specific percent positivity rate is also 4.4% for students and staff.

-A Drop In School-Related Isolations and Quarantines
When TSD made the difficult decision in November to move to a full virtual schedule on a temporary basis, it was made in large part due to the number of isolations and quarantines of students and staff members and the impact that they had on the district’s substitute staff pool. Recent changes to quarantine and isolation rules have created more flexibility for the district and our enhanced safety measures have also led to a large decrease in the numbers over the past few weeks. Additionally, data shows that COVID-19 transmission is occurring within the community outside of the campuses and no confirmed positive cases have come from our school settings.

-Vaccine Availability

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently authorized an adjustment to the state’s vaccine eligibility criteria, which elevated PreK-12 educators on the list. Thanks to partnerships with UCHealth, Kaiser Permanente and Banner Health, many Thompson School District staff members have already received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This is an important step, as it will help enhance safety for all who are in our schools and it will also help ensure that we have adequate substitute staff to assist when needed. “Vaccinations for our educators have been a priority for Larimer County and getting them vaccinated will ensure their safety and staffing continuity within our schools,” said Gonzales.

-The 4th Quarter Begins on March 22
This provides a natural start date for the district to transition students back into the classroom in a full five-day schedule.

Get more on TSD's plans HERE.

The NoCo Virus Tracker articles are made possible by our partners, the Keep NoCo Open campaign that reminds citizens to wear a mask, wash your hands, physically distance and support local as Northern Colorado recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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