EVHS 7 Day Mask Extension (09/17-09/23)

Dear EVHS Community,

We need to provide follow up to all students, parents, and staff regarding the status of Eagle Valley High School in response to the COVID-19 outbreak at our school.

In short, our collaboration with Eagle County Public Health and Environment has established that we need to extend our mask mandate for an additional seven day period from Friday, September 17th through Thursday, September 23rd.  We will keep instituting these seven day measures until our COVID-19 numbers are back to acceptable levels for a sustained period.

If you want the full explanation, you can read below or click here to watch the video that I have made to explain the situation to students during school tomorrow.

Two weeks ago our school was reported as an outbreak site according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment due to the number of cases in our building and the transmission that was occurring amongst our students, athletes, staff, and into the community.  As part of that we instituted a 14-day mask mandate to meet the requirements of our designation as an outbreak site, to stop the spread of COVID-19, and to get our school back to healthy and safe numbers.

So everyone is clear on the numbers of where we have been, what we have endured, and where we are headed, we want you to know the number of cases at EVHS go beyond even what shows up on the state and county reporting measures. 
100 total = Since the start of school we have tracked almost 100 positive cases amongst our students and staff. 
50 during one week = During the week we instituted the mask mandate (Aug 30 - Sept 3) there were 10 or more cases happening each day with over 50 total during that week alone.
26 in the last 10 days = we are seeing a decline and since the Labor Day break we have still had 26 new positive cases in the last 10 days.

Our case numbers and their impact could have easily led to more than just a mask mandate.  We have been able to endure and maintain school 5 days a week and in person.  We recognize that many question the measures being taken and whether or not they match the health impact it is having on our community.  I am not a doctor or a public health official and cannot speak to the exact health effects of COVID-19, hospitalizations, or death rates.  But as a school leader, I do know and can see the educational impact it is having.
Missing instruction = we have had 9 total staff members out due to positive COVID-19 infections, which leads them to miss at least 6 days of teaching.  Many of them have missed additional days because they are not OK and are having lingering effects including fatigue and headaches.  So the adults in our building are not just rebounding and coming back to class whole and at their best.
Lost learning = we know that students being out for 10 days is not good for them either.  Students and their teachers struggle with making remote learning effective.  We can all agree that being in person is better and what we want.
Lack of coverage = EVHS currently has posted positions we cannot fill because we are getting no applicants. We are short on teachers and support staff.  Our daily substitute coverage rate is 0.0% and we get nobody signing up to help when teachers are out.  It has led us to covering 2-5 classes at one time in the auditorium as a means of survival and not closing school due to lack of coverage.
Disrespectful behavior = Our school based health assistant faces regular abuse when trying to contact families regarding follow up to COVID-19 related isolations and quarantines.  I am thankful for our health assistant and want to protect them to do their job and keep us all safe and healthy.  Our entire staff is working hard every day to remind students about the importance of following things like the mask mandate and it is a struggle when we are ignored or disrespected.

One question that I have gotten from the many emails that have been sent regarding our incident rates is why our other Eagle County High School (Battle Mountain) is not experiencing similar problems.  Although I cannot verify this with exact numbers on all sides, I do know the incidents in our building have been with about 90% or more unvaccinated individuals.  I don’t have the numbers to compare to BMHS, but the district is working on getting a report to verify if BMHS vaccination rates have led to their lower rates of incidents.

EVHS will have a vaccination clinic provided free to the entire community in our back parking lot by Eagle County Public Health on September 23rd from 10am - 6pm.  See attached files for details.  Getting as many eligible people vaccinated continues to be another measure to ensure we limit the impact that COVID-19 can have on our community.

Our goal has been and still remains to do all that we can to stay in school and maintain our athletics and activities.  With our Homecoming week coming up in a little over a month and the winter sports season approaching with its indoor events, we need to remain vigilant and supportive to do all that we can to meet those goals.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support and understanding,
Greg Doan
EVHS Principal

Spanish Version of Letter

Vaccine ClinicSpanish Vaccine Clinic