Duchesne community,

Today I come to you with news that I suspect will be very welcome by many of you and for others will cause great anxiety and concerns. I want you to know that we want to support all of our families and hope that you will talk to us about any concerns.

Over the last five weeks, we have been watching the rates of community spread in Douglas County, we have been monitoring the exposures and cases in our own school community, and we have been listening to our students about their needs. While the rates of spread in Douglas County remain stubbornly high, we have had zero positive cases in our own building. I credit this to our wonderful families and students. Thank you to everyone who has erred on the side of caution, who have monitored for symptoms and been tested, who have carefully made decisions about daily behavior that puts the needs of the community first. You have kept us open and safe. Please continue to help our school stay open and safe for all!

Balanced with the ongoing health of our community, we are also watching the mental health of our students and our teachers. This virus has isolated teens who fundamentally need social experiences to thrive. We are concerned with increasing signs of depression and anxiety among our students. These concerns are tipping our scale toward a need for in-person school.

As of today, September 18, we plan to open to full attendance for all students on Monday, September 28. For the time being, Wednesday will continue to be a remote day for cleaning and an important mental health break for students and teachers. The safety of our staff and students is paramount in this decision. In the 18 rooms where we cannot maintain 6 ft of distance with a full class, we are adding plexiglass desk dividers where this is possible. In rooms where this is not possible, we are making other arrangements which may include wearing a face shield over the mask to provide another layer of protection.

We love all of our students and want to find a solution that will work for your family. Please contact us if this change creates new concerns for you.

May God bless you and your families,

Dr. Laura Hickman

Duchesne Academy Principal

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