Salida School Superintendent David Blackburn announced the suspension of district programming for Monday and Tuesday at all Salida Schools.

That will give staff and students a full week off for Thankgiving. The two days will be made up later in the year.

The district plans to finish this week in person.

The week following Thanksgiving will be 100 percent remote for all buildings.

Blackburn said, in a letter sent out to district families Wednesday, the move will allow staff to take a break from what has been a challenging fall of covering for ill or quarantined staff members.

He said 31 teachers, or about 26 percent, were out sick or in quarantine Wednesday and more are expected to be out today.

“Teachers, administrators, counselors, and support staff have all been covering each other’s shifts and any gaps that appeared,” Blackburn said. “We have all doubled up on duties from kitchen tables to classrooms and found a way to stay in person. The reality is that we have no more tricks up our sleeves or creative solutions to stretch staffing to cover classes.”  

Blackburn said the schools have remained a safe place and the break will help ensure continuation of that.

“We are going to take a break and get everyone back in the driver’s seat. Then we will work to get back into our classrooms as soon as possible,” Blackburn said.

He thanked families and staff for their courage in facing the struggles posed by the pandemic.

“I want to again thank you for everything you have done thus far within this community journey.” Blackburn said, “I was told back in July we would never make it this far.  Well we did. We showed it was possible to live life, even while facing the threats of COVID-19.  It is possible because we have done it together.”

The suspension of programming Monday and Tuesday includes the school nutrition program. 

Blackburn said the district is not finding a significant number of kids who are food insecure at this moment nor who are interested in that service during vacation days. 

Blackburn said the district will determine what happens after the first week of December after watching what happens with Thanksgiving travel.

He said the hope and intent is to go back to in-person instruction and finish out the year strong.

“We are going to take a break and get everyone back in the driver’s seat. Then we will work to get back into our classrooms as soon as possible,” Blackburn said.

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