Back to school, with precautions

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Meeker and Rangely school districts will eliminate in-town bus routes.
Caitlin Walker | Herald Times

RBC | The goal is to get kids back in the classroom for in-person learning and to take all necessary precautions to keep them there, according to superintendents for both Rio Blanco County school districts.

The official first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year is set for Aug. 24. Each district, and each school in the district, have outlined new guidelines for protecting the health of students and staff during the pandemic. 

Meeker Superintendent Chris Selle, Rangely Superintendent Matt Scoggins, and the county’s public health department have worked together to come up with plans that are slightly different, but hope to accomplish the same goal. Both plans are staged to reflect changes in infection rates and accompanying changes to the school year, including closing schools and returning to virtual learning should positive COVID-19 cases pass certain thresholds.

“We want to provide the least intrusive environment for kids to learn,” Scoggins said. 

“We’re trying to help the community understand we’re doing all these things to return to in-person learning,” Selle said. 

Adaptations to the usual school year for staff and students alike will involve self-screening for symptoms, wearing masks or face coverings, practicing social distancing, and no in-town bus routes. The Rangely district may keep the La Mesa route. 

“Ridership increases in town,” Selle said of the decision to eliminate the in-town bus routes, making it more difficult for students to physical distance. “There’s no point in Meeker that’s more than a mile from the elementary school,” he added.

Both districts are asking students to provide their own face coverings, but if there is a financial hardship, the districts will assist. The state is providing KN95 masks for staff. 

“If it’s a financial burden, we can help,” Scoggins said about providing masks, “But I think the kids will be creative.”

For students with underlying health conditions, or those who have family members at high risk, both districts will work with families on an individual basis to create options for those students. In the event of an increase in cases, there are some distance learning options in place, as well. 

Follow the links below for full school supply lists.

Meeker Supply Lists —

Rangely Supply Lists —