MEEKER | On April 2, after review of information provided by state and local leaders and medical professionals, and after consultation with the Meeker School District Board of Education and administrative staff, our school district made the decision to close on-site learning for the remainder of the school year. We were positioned to make this decision as a result of key investments made by our district to upgrade technology and make sure most students had a school issued Chromebook. The investments Rio Blanco County made to upgrade technological resources several years ago has also been instrumental in our transition to online learning. It is important for our community to understand this decision was not based on fears of COVID-19 transmission. Rather, it was made in an effort to provide continuity in educational programming through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
In a “normal” circumstance, a change of this magnitude would require months of planning. Our school community made the change in less than a week. The response to these circumstances by our students, parents and staff has been phenomenal. Our staff has already shifted lesson plans into key platforms like Google Classroom, are utilizing video conferencing tools like Google Meet and Zoom, and have pushed out access to online textbook resources. Staff are also preparing and delivering meals to families in need, and our technology staff is working overtime to ensure the best access possible to online resources for students and staff. There are challenges with our new learning environment. We know online learning will never compare to the learning that happens in our classrooms. We know there are some areas within our rural community with poor internet connections. Staff and students greatly miss the in-person relationships which are critical to support student learning. Nonetheless, all school staff has been diligently working to make sure learning opportunities are still present for our students and students are learning.
Though no community member has directly contacted the school district, we are aware of fears that COVID-19 could be transmitted through workers involved in our construction project. To their credit, Haselden Construction has been proactive to ensure the safety of their workers and our community. They have exceeded guidelines set forth by CDC, CDPHE, and OSHA. They have been in regular communication with our local medical professionals. They have put in place numerous protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our job site. Haselden has shared these expectations with all subcontractors working on our project and has enforced all possible precautions on the construction site with fidelity. Any community member wishing to have more detail regarding the specifics of actions taken to ensure the safety of our community and our construction site is welcome to contact the Meeker School District Administration Building.
Our students, parents, staff and community must be commended for their adaptability and support of our schools during these unprecedented times. We are still committed to providing the best educational opportunities possible within our current circumstances. My faith in school staff, students, parents, and our community remains steadfast, and I have full confidence our community will continue to work together for the benefit of our students. I can think of no other community than Meeker, Colorado, where I would rather be in these extraordinary times. I have never been more proud to state that I am a Meeker Cowboy!
By CHRIS SELLE | Special to the Herald Times