COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) information for FFC8
Below is the latest information from the Center for Disease Control and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). According to the CDC, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to this virus. However, the following preventative measures are recommended to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
The district has created a web page for mental health support around COVID-19 and during remote learning. Please visit it to get help in this area for students or families.
Most Recent Parent Letter
(information posted Friday, March 20, 2020 at approximately 7:15 p.m.)
We know you all have been waiting for more news around future district operations after Spring Break and we appreciate your patience and support as we work through the details! As you know, this week the Governor ordered the suspension of “normal, in-person instruction” in public and private schools in Colorado through April 17. As a result, district leadership has worked diligently to plan for remote learning opportunities.
On Monday, March 30, staff will return to conduct work, in some capacity, mostly remotely but some in buildings. For most instructional staff, training will be needed to prepare for remote learning for students. District administration and school staff will work hard to create remote learning opportunities that will provide meaningful learning experiences for ALL students. We are taking into account seniors, students with special needs, gifted and talented students, English Learners and every individual student who needs to master and refine skills to advance to the next level.
Remote learning will begin for students on Tuesday, April 7. More details will be coming soon, but we wanted you to be prepared with a date in mind. Remote learning will be mostly focused on online instruction and resources and packets that can be done from home. We will provide a webpage on the District website with more information and resources before April 7.
To help us plan to better serve all students, we will be administering a phone survey to all parents. Please try to answer the phone when it calls from the 719-358-4278 phone number and take the survey if it applies to you. There will be instructions to call back, if you miss the call.
Also, we wanted to take a minute to remind you of the internet service that Comcast has made more available to families nationwide. Visit www.internetessentials.com for more information. From what we understand, they are increasing capacity for current customers and offering new customers two free months of service. This may help as we move to remote learning in our district, but as a reminder, not all of the work we’ll do together will be online.
We will continue to serve meals next week and through this emergency closure. We may change times and/or add locations, and we will notify you once those decisions have been made. For now, you can still plan on receiving two meals per bag either at Mountainside Elementary or Aragon Elementary next week.
We know this situation is evolving and changing rapidly and that can cause some stress on your families, households, and children. Please know that we are here to support you as we all navigate this uncertain time together.
Thank you for your patience and support,
Dr. Keith Owen
(information posted Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at approximately 3:30 p.m.)
Enrichment Resources for Families
While there is no expectation of classwork for students during this time, we have curated a list of digital resources for online learning and engagement. The list will be posted on each school's website and/or social media accounts over the closure. Please keep in mind that engaging in such learning is voluntary during this emergency closure. We understand that not all students will have the resources or opportunity to participate for several reasons, including technological constraints that some families may have and individual student learning needs. The list is provided only as a supplemental learning resource for parents and students and is not an endorsement of alignment to our district curriculum.
Free Internet at Home for Qualifying Families
We are aware that Comcast is offering its Internet Essentials plan at no cost to qualifying low-income families, providing a significant speed upgrade and cost reduction to their standard low-income plan. Centurylink also offers discounted services for qualifying families as well. We have provided the link here for you to access their website for these plans.
Helping the Community
After our announcement around serving meals last week, many of you reached out offering to help and volunteer. While we do not need help specifically with that task, there are many ways you can get involved in the broader community that we wanted to make you aware of (if you are able to do any of the following):
- Check in on your neighbors, especially elderly neighbors who may be afraid or at-risk if they go out. Also, healthcare or neighbors who work in an essential service might need help you can provide like walking a dog.
- Support local food pantries like Care and Share, Reach Pikes Peak, and Connections 4 Life.
- Give blood. Blood banks are low on supply and healthy donors are encouraged to still give.
- Buy a gift card from a local store or restaurant. While many have shut down, they are still offering curbside pick-up, delivery, and gift cards, all of which will help support the economy.
(the following information was posted Monday, March 16, 2020 at approximately 6 p.m.)
El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are now concerned about community spread. Yesterday, March 15, the CDC issued a guidance for large events and mass gatherings recommending that for the next eight weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. Just this morning, the President of the United States said his administration recommended everyone “avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, avoid discretionary travel,” etc. This number continues to move down from the 250 that the Governor of Colorado proposed last week. On this link are some ways that you can prepare, take action, and work on community mitigation.
Mental health during this stressful time is very important, both for children and for caregivers. There are some resources online to help both groups of people. The National Association of School Psychologists has tips on how to Talk to Children about COVID-19. The CDC also has resources and guidance on Stress and Coping.
Primary Care Doctors vs. ER
EPCPH advises that anyone not experiencing life-threatening symptoms of any kind call their primary care doctor first to get seen or treated for any illness. Do not go to the Emergency Room, unless you have a serious, life-threatening situation. They say that most people will be able to manage the symptoms of COVID-19 at home (if they are mild) and won’t need to be seen by a doctor.
(the following information was posted March 13, 2020 at 7:15 p.m.)
School districts in the Pikes Peak region will be offering meals to all children under the age of 18 during the closure.
Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 will be providing meals for all children in the community, under the age of 18, during the two-week closure. Meals will be provided Monday, March 16 – Friday, March 20 and Monday, March 23 – Friday, March 27 between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. at the following sites:
- Aragon Elementary
211 S. Main Street
Fountain, CO 80817
- Mountainside Elementary
5506 Harr Ave.
Fort Carson, CO 80902
We will communicate with parents and staff sometime the week of March 23 about the possibility and process of reopening schools on March 30. Please monitor FFC8 communications throughout the break as we will communicate regarding any new developments in the situation immediately.
- Aragon Elementary