Dear Monument Academy Families,

I hope you have all enjoyed a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving break with your loved ones, and that your children found valuable learning with remote schooling last week. We can’t wait to see our students back for in-person learning on both campuses starting tomorrow!

As a reminder of why we had to pivot to online learning last week, in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving break we had a few positive cases with staff and students. We also had a number of staff and students report potential exposures or symptoms and were required to remain at home until receiving a negative test result and for the required days until permitted to return to the campuses. We worked closely with El Paso County Health Department and these positive and probable cases were not identified as having been a result of in school transmission. When positive or probable cases are identified, the individuals who are considered “exposed” to those individuals must also quarantine and monitor for symptoms. Under the state order, a negative result did not allow for that person to come back early. The new orders that were released prior to break additionally required whole classes or grades to quarantine rather than the individualized contact tracing that was permissible under the prior orders.

When we were notified of the additional probable positives the Friday before break, and looked at the numbers of staff and students at both campuses who would be required to stay at home for 14 days under the new orders, we made the decision to utilize Thanksgiving break and last week for distance learning to cover a 14 day period so that we could all return together. Prior to break we had large groups, 34% to 55% of our staff and students who were required to quarantine for 10 to 14 days creating a rotation of groups who were in-school and at home resulting in a continual shortage of at school faculty and staff employees to adequately implement our educational programing. We closely monitored this during these weeks as we continued to work to provide the most outstanding education to our students with excellent programs and faculty dedicated to your student’s education. I commend our faculty for the excellent work they have done in monitoring themselves and in keeping our students and colleagues safe and healthy. They greatly care for your children and chose to continue to serve Monument Academy students and families with in-person schooling when many other districts and schools made the decision to continue with distance only learning models.

Unless an individual is not well, has been asked by Public Health or a physician to quarantine, or has tested positive, all in-person students and faculty are able to return to school together starting tomorrow. Please be assured that reverting to our distance learning plan for one or both of our campuses is not a choice we make unless in-person learning is not viable because of the numbers of staff and students who are required to stay at home during these quarantine periods. Please conduct symptom checks as usual before bringing your children to school and please keep them at home if they are not well. We are very excited to resume in-person learning tomorrow with our entire MA school community able to attend together.

As we work to return to our school campuses, it bears mentioning that we should continue to be vigilant in our efforts to mitigate the impact of this disease within our community. Please keep your children home from school if they show any signs of illness. For your reference, please refer to the document from the State that was sent previously about when you should consider keeping your children home.

While we are continuing to filter and sanitize the air, screen students upon entry, take temperatures, sanitize both classrooms and public areas, emphasize proper handwashing, and encourage social distancing and cohorting, one of our best defenses is awareness. We are not through this critical time yet and we cannot afford to become complacent. Please encourage your children to wear masks when and where appropriate. Review proper handwashing with younger students. Where possible, minimize the number of materials going back and forth between home and school. MA’s ability to remain open and not return to remote-only learning depends upon everyone’s best effort.

Finally, those who have been monitoring our area will know that the risk indicator is still considered high. Please be assured that we continue to monitor this and other information and will communicate any changes or impact to our educational programing. With regard to health and privacy laws and respect, where there is information to report, we will continue to promptly report it to you.

Thank you for all your support and for all you are doing as we strive each day to maintain an in-person schooling option where your children are able to thrive and enjoy the school community we have become so thankful for. We are eager to see your children back in our campuses tomorrow morning! Have a lovely afternoon.

Warm regards,

Christianna Herrera