The challenge with COVID and schools


SAN LUIS VALLEY — The 2021-2022 school year has been a challenging one so far. Many more young people have been infected with COVID-19 this year than last year. Although children and adolescents are far less likely to experience severe illness than adults, increases in COVID-19 among children and adolescents are closely correlated to increased illness in the community as a whole, and that has been the case in the San Luis Valley over the past several weeks.

When it comes to schools, the role of local public health authorities is to confer with schools and give guidance on best practices for safety during the pandemic, with a major aim to keep children in school whenever possible. This is best accomplished using a layered approach to disease prevention with strategies such as distancing, ventilation, cohorting, masking, testing, and so forth. Prevention guidance along these lines from CDPHE has been distributed to schools throughout the state by the Colorado Department of Education. School districts work with public health to develop mitigation strategies.

Unfortunately, there are a high number of cases in the Valley right now requiring isolation and quarantine of their unvaccinated close contacts. This may include students and school staff along with others throughout the community. Some schools or portions of schools have chosen to go to remote learning when there are a large number of staff and/or students quarantined, but that does not necessarily mean that everyone who is in remote learning is also in quarantine.

There were 317 known active cases of COVID-19 in the SLV as of Thursday.

Alamosa County - 108

Conejos County - 46

Costilla County - 11

Mineral County - 7

Rio Grande County - 106

Saguache County - 39

Additional testing and vaccination opportunities have been made available in our area as noted below.

FREE TESTING

There is free COVID-19 testing at Adams State University, Conour Hall, Monday through Thursday, 7am-6pm in the lobby of Conour Hall. Community members are welcome. Fill out the registration form ahead of time at https://www.adams.edu/ safe-return/, or register on site.

Free COVID-19 testing is also available to the public through mobile clinics on the dates and locations listed below. Register when you arrive, or register online in advance at www. affinityecarecolorado.com

Mondays, 11am-2pm at Safeway in Monte Vista

Tuesdays, 10am-2pm at Rio Grande County Social Services in Del Norte

Tuesdays, 3:30pm - 6:00pm at Rainbow Grocery in South Fork

Wednesdays, 3pm-7pm at the Community Center in Saguache

Wednesdays, 10:30-1:30 at the Safeway in Monte Vista

Thursdays, 12pm-4pm at La Jara Town Hall

Thursdays, 9am-11am at Antonito Town Hall

VACCINATION

Registration is encouraged but not required at https://www.mobilevax. us/southwest

Monte Vista: 946-998 US Hwy 160, Friday October 8, 9am-12pm

Center: Tierra de Nueva Apartment Complex, Friday October 8, 1pm-5pm

Alamosa: ASU Richardson Hall parking lot, Saturday and Sunday October 9-10, 10am-6pm

Blanca: Sierra Grande High School, Tuesday October 12, 10am-6pm

San Luis: Centennial High School, Wednesday October 13, 10am-6pm

For information about more vaccination locations, local data updates and more, see www.slvphp.com or call 719-480-8719.

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