• RETURN TO LEARN INFORMATION AND UPDATES

     

Prevention Strategies

  • Mask Guidance

    At this time District 11 requires all students and staff to wear masks on all school buses (exemptions are outlined below). Masks are strongly encouraged inside all school and district administrative buildings.

    • Specific mask guidance and exemptions will be provided here

    Quarantines

    Students and staff identified as close contacts will need to quarantine. To learn more about who is a close contact visit the link below.

    Quarantined individuals may return 8 days after exposure if they receive a negative COVID test between days 5-7 of their quarantine. This guidance is for non-household member exposures.

    In the event, a student is living with someone that is positive for COVID-19 and the ill family member cannot isolate away from the family based on EPCPH guidelines then the student must complete quarantine from the last day of exposure, typically 17 to 20 days. Each case will be reviewed and we will work with families to assure a student does not quarantine longer than absolutely necessary.  

    Ill Students and Staff

    School-based staff will follow the guidelines below if a student or staff reports to school ill

    The following flowchart will support the return to work/school for non-covid related illnesses. 

    Isolation

    Students and staff that are positive for COVID-19 will be required per EPCPH to isolate for 10 days, and are considered infections 48 hours prior to symptom onset. 

    Handwashing

    Students will be encouraged and provided the opportunity to practice periodic handwashing.

    Disinfection/Ventilation

    Our Facilities, Operations, and Transportation staff will continue to ensure that our schools and buses provide the safest possible environments.  

    • School ventilation systems have been reprogrammed to the maximum extent possible to increase the fresh air by over 150 percent. 
    • Custodial staff will continue to use a variety of proven techniques and supplies to ensure our schools are clean and sanitized.  District 11 custodial cleaning procedures mandate extra cleaning on heavily trafficked areas while students are present.  Chemical disinfectants will only be used when students are not present.
    • School bus ventilation will also be increased by opening windows.
    • School bus drivers will continue to clean buses between each run and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at the end of each shift.

     

Updated Messages from the Superintendent

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • While our students, families, and staff are and will continue to be resilient, we also recognize the pandemic has created environments inside and outside our schools that can cause stress, anxiety, depression, or a sense of uncertainty. As we transition back to more normal classroom environments, D11 will focus on delivering SEL curriculum, adding additional counseling services, monitoring student well-being, and building back school communities. Through partnerships with Children’s Hospital, Diversus Health, Peak Vista, and ThriveWorks, D11 has added supplemental mental health services for those families that wish to access support during and after the school day. Additionally, staff continues to have access to FREE mental health supports through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Now more than ever, we are committed to developing students' social emotional learning competencies and the wellbeing of our staff in order to create thriving school environments.  

     

Scaled COVID-19 Mitigation Practices

  • D11 will continually monitor El Paso County's transmission rates found here. When county rates reach identified metrics (see below) for 5 consecutive days the district will put in place increasing mitigation practices to reduce the risk of transmission in order to keep students in school for in-person learning.  

    Health Screenings

    • Families should continue to screen their students for illness before sending them to school
    • Staff and Visitors will be required to complete a Health Screening before entering D11 facilities starting Aug. 16, 2021

    Mitigation Thresholds and Mitigation Practices 

    • 200/100K - PK-5 Students, Staff, and Visitors will be required to wear masks (see mask guidance for exemptions)
    • 250/100K - PK-12 Students, Staff, and Visitors will be required to wear masks (see mask guidance for exemptions)
    • 300/100K - District 11 will be prepared for hybrid learning should entire cohorts or schools be closed due to COVID-19 

     

      

Concurrent Enrollment Guidance

  • Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) in accordance with the Community College System will implement a COVID testing protocol effective for spring semester 2022. All PPCC students and K-12 Concurrent Enrollment students, including D11 students, who attend in-person courses on any PPCC campus will be required to complete a weekly COVID test, if not fully vaccinated. All D11 students who participate in college courses on high school campuses are exempt. 

    Fully vaccinated students who upload their vaccine card into the PPCC voluntary system are EXEMPT. Students and families should visit the PPCC link to upload their vaccination card.

     

     

  • Superintendent's Message to ALL D11 families & staff sent 10/1/2021

    Dear D11 Families and Employees,

    As you know, Colorado Springs School District 11 moved to masks requirements for all D11 staff, students, and visitors on September 9, 2021. We are approaching the end of the 30-day mask mandate monitoring period and wanted to update you on our health data findings from before and after the universal mask requirement.

    In accordance with the El Paso County Public Health guidance, all schools are required to quarantine both staff and students when they come into “close contact” with a COVID positive person. The only exception to this requirement is if all parties during the exposure period were masked, fully vaccinated, or contracted COVID within the last 90 days. The chart below compares the first 15 days of school without masks to the past 15 days in school with masks. The data demonstrates a significant drop in not only quarantines, but also COVID cases in D11 as El Paso County COVID cases continued to increase: 

    Dates

    Cases

    Students Quarantined

    Staff Quarantined

    8/16-9/6/2021

    285

    1259

    52

    9/7-9/27/2021

    154

    281

    20

    Not only does our own data demonstrate how the mask requirements are allowing us to keep more students in school with less quarantining, we are also seeing data from other school districts around the state and country showing masking to be an effective tool to help minimize the need to quarantine as evidenced in the reports here and here.

    As a result of significantly minimized quarantines across the District, and because our primary goal is to keep schools open for in-person learning, we will continue to require masks for the rest of the first semester. At that time, we will again re-evaluate the mask requirement based on community and school district transmission data that could put us at risk of continuous quarantines and/or school closures.

    Additionally, please note the following mask guidance:

    • Masks may be provided at your child’s school at no cost to you.
    • Teachers and Special Service Providers may remove their masks and have students remove their masks when teaching phonics, teaching a second language, communicating with deaf and hard of hearing, during small-group reading instruction, or paying attention to the articulation of sounds and speech. Masks/face coverings must be worn again once this instruction is completed.
    • If your child cannot medically tolerate a mask, you will need to provide your child’s school office with a written note from a physician that may be kept on file. 
    • Accommodations are available for students who cannot physically wear a mask due to a disability. Please speak with your child’s school to request the exemption form.

    As always, I thank you for your continued partnership as we endeavor to keep schools open for in-person learning.

    Yours in Partnership,

    Dr. Michael J. Thomas, Superintendent


    Superintendent's Message to ALL D11 families sent 9/9/2021

    Good Evening, D11 Families,

    As you know, a mask requirement went into effect at the beginning of this week for all D11 staff, and all students, PK-12. El Paso County Public Health quarantine guidance indicates when all people in a classroom are masked, students will NOT have to quarantine unless they develop symptoms. This helps D11 to achieve the main goal of keeping classrooms and schools open for in-person learning as long as possible. 

    Additionally, please note the following mask guidance:

    • Masks may be provided at your child’s school at no cost to you.
    • Teachers and Special Service Providers may remove their masks and have students remove their masks when teaching phonics, teaching a second language, communicating with deaf and hard of hearing, during small-group reading instruction, or paying attention to the articulation of sounds and speech. Masks/face coverings must be worn again once this instruction is completed.
    • If your child cannot medically tolerate a mask, you will need to provide your child’s school office with a written note from a physician that may be kept on file. 
    • Accommodations are available for students who cannot physically wear a mask due to a disability. Please speak with your child’s school to request the exemption form.

    As always, I thank you for your continued partnership as we endeavor to keep schools open for in-person learning.

    Yours in Partnership,

    Dr. Michael J. Thomas, Superintendent


    Superintendent's Message to ALL D11 staff sent 9/9/2021

    Good Evening D11 Team,

    As you know, a mask requirement went into effect at the beginning of this week for all staff and all students, PK-12. I thank everyone who has adhered to the mask requirement so that we can strive to keep our schools open for in-person learning and reduce quarantine numbers. El Paso County Public Health quarantine guidance indicates when all people in a classroom are masked, students will NOT have to quarantine unless they develop symptoms. This helps D11 to achieve the main goal of keeping classrooms and schools open for in-person learning as long as possible. 

    Additionally, D11 human resources’ guidelines for mask expectations provide staff members with the following:

    ·         Medical Exemptions:  If you cannot medically tolerate a mask, you will need to obtain a statement from your physician stating you qualify for a medical exemption.  If you qualify, to the extent required by law, the District will reasonably accommodate you by, for example, permitting you to wear a face shield at work or allowing you take a paid or unpaid leave of absence, depending upon whether you have any remaining paid time off.  If you are waiting for a medical statement from a physician, you will be required to either wear a mask at work, or refrain from coming to work and report your absence as paid or unpaid leave.  (If you do not have paid time off, your leave will be unpaid).

    ·         Religious Exemptions:  A religious exemption may be an option if you are unable to wear a face mask because doing so violates a religious belief.  (Note: the District may require you to provide a note from your church, or pastor or other religious leader.)  To the extent required by law, the District will reasonably accommodate your religious belief by allowing you, for example, to take a paid or unpaid leave of absence from work, depending upon whether you have any remaining paid time off (if you do not have paid time off, your leave will be unpaid).

    ·         Refusal to wear a Mask or Accept an Accommodation Offered by the District--If you refuse to wear a mask or accept an accommodation offered by the District, the following may apply

    o    You will be prohibited from coming to work.

    o    The District may, in its discretion, treat your refusal as insubordination, resulting in disciplinary action, including termination from employment.

    o    The District may, in its discretion, after ten days of consecutive absences, place you on a leave of absence until the District no longer requires face masks, during which time, you may use any paid time off you have earned and accrued (otherwise, the leave will be unpaid).

    o    You may request a leave of absence from the District until such time as the District no longer requires face masks, during which time, you may use any paid time off you have earned and accrued (otherwise the leave will be unpaid).  

     As always, I thank you for your continued partnership as we endeavor to keep schools open for in-person learning.

    Yours in Partnership,

     Dr. Michael J. Thomas, Superintendent


    Message to ALL D11 families and staff sent 9/5/2021

    Dear D11 Families,

    As we’ve been communicating, we continue to monitor the El Paso County Public Health data and want to update you on the mask/face covering requirements in D11. One of our main goals is to keep our schools open for in-person learning as much as possible this school year. We’ve already experienced challenges in some of our schools that have impacted in-person learning, so we must take precautions. Regardless of individual feelings on masks/face coverings, the fact remains when all people in a classroom are masked, students will NOT have to quarantine unless they develop symptoms. This helps D11 to achieve the main goal of keeping classrooms and schools open for in-person learning as long as possible.

    The El Paso County Public Health data now reflects five consecutive days above the 250/100K threshold for secondary (grades 6-12) requirements as indicated here. Starting Tuesday, September 7, 2021, the District will implement mask/face covering requirements for all students and staff regardless of vaccination status. The requirement will be in place for 30 days and re-evaluated as we continue to monitor the community COVID spread. Your student’s school office will have disposable masks available for students should they forget, soil, or damage their mask.

    The District previously communicated the mask requirements for all elementary students and staff also starting Tuesday, September 7, 2021. All communication may be viewed at www.d11.org/returntolearn

    Mask Guidance
    The following situations allow for the removal of a mask:
    • While eating
    • While outside during designated mask breaks
    • Teachers and Special Service Providers may  remove their masks and have students remove their masks when teaching phonics, small group reading instruction, or paying attention to articulation of sounds and speech. Masks/face coverings must be worn put once this instruction is completed
    • While staff are alone in their office or classroom with the door closed*
    • While seated in an open office format to include cubicles, staff may remove their masks if seated and more than 12 feet away from their nearest colleague who also must be seated*

    *If someone enters the room, you must put on the mask/face covering.

    Any staff or student who is not physically able to wear and remove a face covering correctly should complete the documentation of inability to wear a mask – non-medical available at the school.

    Thank you for your continued partnership as we strive to keep our schools open for in-person learning, and keep our students and staff healthy and safe.


    Message to ALL D11 families and staff sent 9/3/2021

    Dear D11 Families and Staff,

    As we’ve been communicating, we continue to monitor the El Paso County Public Health data and want to update you on the mask/face covering requirements in D11. One of our main goals is to keep our schools open for in-person learning as much as possible this school year. We’ve already experienced challenges in some of our schools that have impacted in-person learning, so we must take precautions. Regardless of individual feelings on masks/face coverings, the fact remains when all people in a classroom are masked, students will NOT have to quarantine unless they develop symptoms. This helps D11 to achieve the main goal of keeping classrooms and schools open for in-person learning as long as possible.

    Elementary Students
    The El Paso County Public Health data now reflects five consecutive days above the 200/100K threshold for elementary requirements as indicated here. Starting Tuesday, September 7, 2021, the District will implement mask/face covering requirements for all elementary students regardless of vaccination status. The requirement will be in place for 30 days and re-evaluated as we continue to monitor the community COVID spread. Your student’s school office will have disposable masks available for students should they forget, soil, or damage their mask.

    Secondary Students
    In alignment with local and state guidance, face coverings will continue to be strongly encouraged for anyone who is 12+ years and not fully vaccinated but are not yet required at the secondary levels as long as the community transmission rates remain under the 250/100K five-consecutive-day threshold. Currently, the El Paso County Public Health data reflects four consecutive days above 250/100K as indicated here. Due to rapid increase in cases in our community, we anticipate the mask/face covering requirement for all secondary students to go into effect by Tuesday, September 7, 2021. We will communicate with you as soon as possible regarding this requirement so you may have adequate time to prepare. The requirement will be in place for 30 days and re-evaluated as we continue to monitor the community COVID spread. Your student’s school office will have disposable masks available for students should they forget, soil, or damage their mask.

    All D11 Staff
    Effective Tuesday, September 7, 2021 all D11 staff will be required to wear a mask/face covering regardless of vaccine status while indoors with others in the same classroom/office.

    Mask Guidance
    The following situations allow for the removal of a mask:
    • While eating
    • While outside during designated mask breaks
    • Teachers and Special Service Providers may  remove their masks and have students remove their masks when teaching phonics, small group reading instruction, or paying attention to articulation of sounds and speech. Masks/face coverings must be worn put once this instruction is completed
    • While staff are alone in their office or classroom with the door closed*
    • While seated in an open office format to include cubicles, staff may remove their masks if seated and more than 12 feet away from their nearest colleague who also must be seated*

    Any staff or student who is not physically able to wear and remove a face covering correctly should complete the documentation of inability to wear a mask – non-medical available at the school.

    * If someone else enters the room you must put your mask back on.

    Thank you for your continued partnership as we strive to keep our schools open for in-person learning, and keep our students and staff healthy and safe.


    Updated message to D11 elementary families sent 9/1/2021

    Dear D11 Families and Staff,

    We continue to monitor the El Paso County Public Health data and want to update you on the possible mask/face covering requirements in D11. One of our main goals is to keep our schools open for in-person learning as much as possible this school year. We’ve already experienced challenges in some of our schools that have impacted in-person learning, so we must take precautions. Regardless of individual feelings on masks/face coverings, the fact remains when all individuals in a room are wearing a mask, it greatly reduces the number of students and staff who have to quarantine due to positive COVID cases. 

    Elementary Students

    As we monitor the El Paso County Public Health data, we anticipate the trend in cases to increase by the end of the week. If the data shows five consecutive days above 200/100K, as indicated here, we will implement mask/face covering requirements for all elementary students regardless of vaccination status. Due to rapid increase in cases in our community, we anticipate the mask/face covering requirement for elementary to go into effect by Tuesday, September 7, 2021. We will communicate with you as soon as possible regarding this requirement so you may have adequate time to prepare. The requirement will be in place for 30 days and re-evaluated as we continue to monitor the community COVID spread. Your student’s school office will have disposable masks available for students should they forget, soil, or damage their mask.

    Secondary Students

    In alignment with local and state guidance, face coverings will continue to be strongly encouraged for anyone who is 12+ years and not fully vaccinated but are not required if community transmission rates remain under the 250/100K five-consecutive-day threshold.

    All D11 Staff

    Effective Tuesday, September 7, 2021 all D11 staff will be required to wear a mask/face covering regardless of vaccine status while indoors with others in the same classroom/office.

    Thank you for your continued partnership as we strive to keep our schools open for in-person learning, and keep our students and staff healthy and safe.


    Updated message to D11 elementary families sent 8/30/2021

    Dear D11 Elementary Families and Staff,

    As previously communicated, the District anticipates the El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) COVID community transmission rate five-day average to exceed the 200/100K threshold for elementary students and staff. At this time, we are monitoring the data from EPCPH and will continue to do so over the next two days to determine if community transmission rates have maintained a five-day average for the 200/100K threshold. Currently, students in grades PK-5 and 6-12 are strongly encouraged to wear masks, and on Wednesday, September 1, we will communicate what impact the data has on our elementary students and staff.

    We strive to keep our schools open for in-person learning. According to El Paso County Public Health’s quarantine requirements, if students and staff are wearing masks and are exposed to any COVID positive cases, the likelihood they will have to quarantine is significantly less than if they weren’t wearing masks. This greatly helps us reduce the amount of time students would need to spend out of the classroom in quarantine.

    Should a mask/face covering requirement be put into place for all elementary students and staff, it will remain in place for 30 days as we continue to evaluate the community COVID spread. We will continue to share timely updates should any of this information change.

    In spaces where masks are required, note these exemptions for when masks should not be worn:

    • Children 2 and younger;
    • Students napping/sleeping as part of their educational plans;
    • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance; and,
    • Any staff or student who cannot medically tolerate a face covering or not physically able to wear and remove one correctly.

    Please be sure to view all D11 COVID-related health protocols at www.d11.org/returntolearn. Thank you for your understanding and partnership to help keep our students and staff healthy, and help keep our schools open for in-person learning.


    Updated message sent 8/27/2021

    Dear D11 Families,

    Our primary goal for this school year is to keep our schools open for in-person learning as much as possible. As you may know, the El Paso County Public Health COVID community transmission rate is now over the District’s 200/100K threshold for elementary grades as indicated here. Should this rate stay at or above this threshold for five consecutive days, students, staff, and visitors in our elementary schools, in alignment with local and state guidance, will be required to wear a mask/face covering while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. We anticipate this requirement going into effect by Tuesday, August 31. at the elementary level. The requirement will be in place for 30 days and re-evaluated as we continue to monitor the community COVID spread. Your student’s school office will have disposable masks available for students should they forget, soil, or damage their mask.

    For students, staff, and visitors at our secondary schools, in alignment with local and state guidance, face coverings will continue to be strongly encouraged for anyone who is 12+ years and not fully vaccinated but are not required if community transmission rates remain under 250/100K.

    In spaces where masks are required, note these exemptions for when masks should not be worn:

    *Children 2 and younger;
    *Students napping/sleeping as part of their educational plans;
    *Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask   without assistance; and,
    *Any staff or student who cannot medically tolerate a face covering can be exempt if a physician’s letter is provided to school building administrator.
    *Any staff or student who is not physically able to wear and remove a face covering correctly should complete the documentation of inability to wear a mask – non-medical available at the school.
    *For students whose disability prevents them from compliant mask-wearing, our teams have created lesson plans, strategies, and social stories to teach students about safety protocols and work toward compliance in this area.
    *If students are unable to comply with proper mask-wearing, they will be offered the opportunity to use a face shield as a partial solution. However, consistent mask-wearing is considered the most effective PPE for safety, so education and training will continue to gain compliance.


    Return to Learn (update 8/16/2021)

    District 11 students will return to in-person learning on August 16, 2021. The district continues to work with El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to determine the level of COVID-19 transmission with our school communities. For more information related to El Paso County's case rates per 100,000, positivity rates, and hospitalization data please click here. The Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Thomas will continually work with community experts to determine additional prevention strategies necessary to keep our schools open for in-person learning. 

    Parents and guardians the site will be updated as more information becomes available and will serve as an archive for messages and practices related to

    Please be sure to view all D11 COVID-related health protocols at www.d11.org/returntolearn. Thank you for your understanding and partnership to help keep our students and staff healthy, and keep our schools open for in-person learning.