VCS SUPERINTENDENT LETTER ADDRESSING COVID-19 CONCERNS

Friday, November 13, 2020

Dear VCS Parents, Staff and Community:

Student and staff safety remains the top priority for Valdez City Schools. During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, I am very thankful to staff, students, and parents for following local community and school protocols meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

On November 12, the Valdez COVID-19 Unified Command announced that two new Valdez resident cases of COVID-19 are minors. Contact tracing is being conducted today for students and staff who may have been primary contacts with active cases.  All families of close contacts are being notified.  As of this message, there are no new known positive cases for any VCS students or staff. Valdez City Schools is following protocols outlined in the VCS Smart Start Plan to implement safety protocols and COVID-19 mitigation procedures.  Both the Hermon Hutchens Elementary School and Gilson Middle School buildings are being deep cleaned and disinfected today and throughout the weekend.

Gilson Middle School

  • Due to possible contact with an active case of COVID-19, there are high rates of GMS students and staff quarantining.
  • Gilson Middle School will engage in two weeks of distance delivery education for all students starting Tuesday, November 17.
  • We anticipate that GMS will return to in-person learning on Monday, November 30.
  • Students who are not quarantined are encouraged to come into GMS on Monday to gather their school computers and chargers, school supplies and gym clothes. The middle school building will be open from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm to gather materials.
  • Students who are unable to make it into GMS on Monday, please contact GMS to arrange the delivery of educational supplies.

Valdez High School

  • Due to possible contact with an active case of COVID-19 outside of the school building, there are a few VHS students quarantining.
  • Valdez High School will engage in distance delivery education for a limited number students starting Tuesday, November 17.
  • Parents of all possible close contact students who will participate in distance delivery are being contacted by VCS staff.
  • Educational materials and technology devices for students participating in distance delivery will be delivered on Monday, November 16.
  • Valdez High School will be open for in-person learning for students not quarantined on Monday, November 16.

Hermon Hutchens Elementary School

  • Due to possible contact with an active case of COVID-19, there are low rates of HHES students and staff quarantining.
  • Hermon Hutchens Elementary School will engage in distance delivery education for all students in Grade 2 and any other students who are notified as close contacts starting Tuesday, November 17.
  • Parents of all possible close contact students who will participate in distance delivery are being contacted by VCS staff.
  • Educational materials and technology devices for students participating in distance delivery will be delivered on Monday, November 16.
  • Hermon Hutchens Elementary School will be open for in-person learning for students not contacted by HHES on Monday, November 16.

We recognize that these swift changes are stressful for everyone. However, these steps taken follow expert recommendations, as well as state and local guidelines. I appreciate your cooperation with these highly important actions to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Know that, above all, we are committed to keeping individuals safe. Take care of yourself and each other.

Sincerely,

Shawn Arnold
Superintendent of Schools
Valdez City Schools

Valdez City Schools Smart Start Plan
Valdez COVID-19 Unified Command Website
COVID-19 Superintendent Letter November 13, 2020