COVID-19 SUPERINTENDENT LETTER MARCH 25, 2021

March 25, 2021

Dear VCS Parents, Staff and Community:

Student and staff safety is the top priority for Valdez City Schools.  As we opened schools in August, additional safety protocols and mitigation procedures have helped protect individuals. I appreciate all of the efforts of VCS students, staff, and families during these unprecedented times.  Valdez City Schools has transitioned to Phase 3 of the VCS Smart Start Plan.  Phase 3 includes using enhanced mitigation methods, incorporating hybrid learning, and requiring masks for all students and staff. I will continue to communicate directly with our community as VCS staff is monitoring this ever-evolving scenario closely. While students are learning at home this week, most staff are working on campus.

As of March 25, the Valdez COVID-19 Unified Command reported 22 active cases of COVID-19 in Valdez.  At this time, most of the Valdez active COVID-19 cases are VCS students. These cases are primarily clustered with high school aged students, although some cases were reported with middle school students. Listed below are the student return dates for all school buildings.

Hermon Hutchens Elementary School

• HHES students who are not quarantined will return to in-person learning on Monday, March 29. 

Gilson Middle School

• GMS students who are not quarantined will return to in-person learning on Wednesday, March 31.

Valdez High School

• VHS students will all continue with distance delivery instruction until Monday, April 5. 

Meals will be available for pick up for GMS and VHS students as well as quarantined HHES students.  Meals will include breakfast and lunch and will be available for pick up between 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at Gilson Middle School. Parents must email Amber Cockerham at acockerham@valdezcityschools.org to participate in meal pick up.

If your child is exhibiting any COVID-19 signs or symptoms, please get them tested.  Valdez testing options are listed below.

  • Valdez City Schools offers rapid testing to students and staff. Please contact the
    HHES Office at 907-835-4728 to schedule an appointment.
  • The Valdez Medical Clinic offers symptomatic rapid testing by appointment only. Please call 907-831-6441 to discuss your situation and schedule a testing appointment.
  • The Alfa Doc offers symptomatic rapid testing by appointment only. Please call 907-835-ALFA (2532) to discuss your situation and schedule a testing appointment.
  • Providence Valdez Medical Center offers asymptomatic testing by appointment only. Call 907-255-6063 to discuss your situation and schedule a testing appointment. (This is NOT a rapid testing option.)

Valdez City Schools is following the CDC guidelines for K-12 schools. On Friday, March 19, 2021, the CDC released CDC Updates Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools to Reflect New Evidence on Physical Distance in Classrooms. During this time when the school buildings are closed, I encourage all students and families to follow local Valdez COVID-19 Unified Command and CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 mitigation protocols.

We recognize that these swift changes are stressful for everyone. However, these steps taken follow expert recommendations, as well as state and local guidelines. Thank you for your patience and cooperation with these highly important actions to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I am grateful that our entire Valdez City Schools team has done an excellent job throughout this unprecedented transition. Know that, above all, we are committed to keeping you safe. Your safety is our number one priority. 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 March 25, 2021