UPDATE: EHS Students react to virus outbreak

Students give their thoughts on the school closure and delay of after school activities and sports.

PirateTV

By Jaydin Webb and Pirateer Staff

(Updated March 13, 2020)

Closed Down

“The last time the school shut down for two weeks was the blizzard of 2003.  It started to snow on Monday the 17th and didn’t stop for 3 days. We had classes on Monday but then the rest of the week off, which backed up to our Spring Break,” said Teacher Matt Bednorz who has been at EHS for more than 20 years.

Concerts, spring sports, classes, and banquets. All canceled by Englewood District leadership as the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve. The district announced March 12, that an extended spring break would begin March 16 with classes resuming March 30. That is the date students would normally return after spring break.

“I think it’s good to take preemptive action before it gets completely out of control,” said Elowyn Fahnestock (10), “Hopefully it will calm down and there will be solutions, but it’s important to be cautious until we have a better grasp of the situation, and it will be nice to have time off.”

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, (as of March 13, 12:50 pm) there are 72 presumptive positive cases of Covid-19.

“I think it is a good idea to help stop the growth of this virus, even though it is not common in kids of our age. Also, everybody needs a break from school right now,” Juju Galvan (11) said. “It is good. Keeping people safe from all of the diseases. It isolates all of us from other students,” said Brayan Munoz (10).

“The choir concert was canceled,” said Katie Moraja (11) who has been in ETC, the highest EHS choir for two years, “We put a lot of work into it on our own and in class.” She is speaking of the MIOSM event that was scheduled for March 17. March is Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM®). Here at Englewood, elementary, middle and high school choirs collaborate for this event that started in 1973 and has grown over the decades. Choir director Garlynn Saddler says the purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that school is where all children should have access to music. “It’s unfortunate because we put a lot of work into it, but now our top priority needs to be keeping people safe, so that is more important than a concert,” said Moraja.

Alyssa Torrez (12) is using the time wisely, “I have to say I’m happy for the two weeks so I can catch up on schoolwork without having worry about the work piling up while I”m trying to raise my grades.”

Archer Husbands (10) knows the entire time can’t be spent relaxing, “It’s going to be nice to have the time off, a break from school will be fun,” He has AP and Honors classes and will still make that a priority, “Most of what they are going to assign will be reading and things like that so I will need to work I that, and take time with family and friends.”

Alexzandrea Jones (9) just moved to Englewood from Centennial, “It’s two weeks. I’ll probably go to my cousins and stay there.” She is not worried about getting sick.

Some people are worried about school and events after the break, “I am really nervous about them canceling prom. I know it is a while from now but you never know. I’ve heard it is mostly affecting older people. I’m not sure why they need to make it a big deal for young people like us,” said Amirah Russo (11). Events after March 30 are up in the air. Prom is May 1, 2020.

District Statement About After School Activities

Dear Englewood Schools Families and Staff Members:

More and more events and large group gatherings across the nation are being limited in an attempt to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition, Governor Polis and various state agencies such as the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) have made similar decisions today regarding COVID-19 that affect Englewood Schools. As you know, this situation is fluid and changes rapidly. We remain focused on our students, our staff, our families and our wider community. We will continue to do what we can and what we are instructed to do to keep those most vulnerable in our community safe.

After School Activities

All after school activities, clubs, enrichment, events and evening performances are being suspended beginning tomorrow, March 13 through April 5.

CHSAA sponsored athletic events and practices in Englewood Schools will be suspended beginning at midnight tonight through April 5th.  CHSAA has suspended all CHSAA sports practices and competitions beginning March 13 through April 5.

The middle school late run bus will not be available during this time.

All out of school field trips and community outings will be suspended beginning March 13 through April 5.  Schools will communicate individually regarding the ability to reschedule these events.

Preschool child care and Champions school-age childcare will remain open for regular hours.

Englewood Schools Facility Rentals

All facility rentals from outside groups will be canceled beginning March 13 through April 5.  Existing permits will be modified, so users are not charged for this cancellation.

Thank you for your ongoing patience. We will keep you informed as the rapidly evolving situation develops, up to and including any school closures.

Kind Regards,

Wendy Rubin, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Englewood Schools

Impact to Players

Casey Cheatum has played baseball for three years, “The group of guys I’m around, it’s always a good time.” When the district announced it would stop after school activities, it hit teams hard, “It was weird, we saw how lacrosse was delayed, they got it worse than us, delaying their season through March. I know we are done until April 6th.” This is his senior year, and the last year he can play with this group of athletes, “For the time being, we are only losing two and a half weeks of practice, and four games.”

Nate Gravagno (11) is worried about the sports season, “I think it sucks it’s really affecting spring sports being suspended two or three weeks.” Gravagno is a track athlete. He was planning to compete in the 300 hurdles, 100, 200, and the 4 by 4 relay, “We won’t have practice for two weeks and the meets today and tomorrow are canceled.” This means athletes need to work out on their own, “We as students plan to meet up and workout without the coaches. It’s the same thing with practice. Long-distance athletes will run around the block, sprinters and hurdlers will do their own workouts.”

“Football workouts after school ended,”  Logan Owens (9) is a football player who uses the off-season to stay in shape, “We have to get workouts in on our own. It’s easy to do on your own, but if others don’t do what they need to, it could be a struggle.”

School is Canceled

Englewood School District email to families:

Good evening Englewood Schools Community,

The situation with COVID-19 continues to change quickly.  In order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community, Englewood Schools is joining with other districts around the state to extend school breaks.  While many area districts had initially planned to wait until updated epidemiology reports tomorrow, new information provided this evening made it necessary to make these decisions earlier than anticipated. Englewood Schools will be closed for an extended break beginning on Monday, March 16. We anticipate re-opening on Monday, March 30.  We will, however, be continuing to assess that return date as we continue to receive updated information from state agencies and health departments.

We will send a far more detailed communication tomorrow, so please continue to check your email.  For the time being, students and staff should plan on taking any devices or personal items home from school tomorrow at the end of the day in preparation for the extended break.  Thank you for your support through this ever-evolving and unprecedented situation.

Kind regards,

Wendy Rubin, Ed.D.

Superintendent

______________________________________________________________________________

(Posted March 4, 2020)

Students get sick all the time, but this year, with the worldwide worries about Coronavirus (COVID-19), students are being asked to take more precautions in protecting their health and the health of those around them. Many are aware of the different illnesses out there right now,

“Yes, they are scary,” said Yakez Daughtry (12).

The Colorado Department of Health is reporting no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, but that doesn’t mean the state and Englewood school district is waiting for an outbreak.

Superintendent Wendy Rubin sent an email home to families this week, outlining what the school district is doing, what you should know and additional resources.

The Pirateer wanted to know what students are doing to keep themselves healthy and if they are educating themselves on the health issues facing the public right now. Karla Sierra-Vazquez (10) is taking care of herself, “Oh yes, I’m aware of the viruses in the world right now. I wash my hands like all the time. I think I know how to wash my hands properly. Washing your hands can keep it off of school campuses. No, I still share drinks.” Sharing drinks is not recommended right now, if ever.

“I keep healthy by washing my hands when I go to the bathroom and before I eat and not touching my hands to my face. I don’t share my drinks with others,” said Lillian Drummond (10).

Hand washing is happening, but some take it a bit further by making sure they aren’t touching contaminated areas, “Yes, I know about the viruses. I wash my hands every time I go to the bathroom and make sure I don’t touch things in general. Hand sanitizer because it’s quicker. Probably washing your hands and keeping clean. Ya, most of the time but sometimes I share with my friends,” said Gabe Best (10). “Ya, I’m aware of the Coronavirus. I wash my hands four or five times a day. Soap is better. My advice is don’t get the illness. Yes, I have stopped sharing,” said Josh Jones (10).

Soap dispensers are in all of the EHS bathrooms, and the school nurse is encouraging students to use soap over hand sanitizer, “I prefer soap because hand sanitizer isn’t enough, most people think it is but it’s really not,” said School nurse Melinda Sanchez who has a suggestion for how many times students should be washing their hands, “Students should wash their hands after every class period because you never know how many germs you touch while in class.”

Hand washing for 20 seconds is the recommendation but students admit they don’t time themselves. Singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice is a good way to keep track of how long you are really washing your hands. Experts say any chorus of your favorite song will work as well, “By washing our hands for up to 60 seconds with hot water make sure you scrub between your fingers and under your fingernails and use hand sanitizer, more to prevent germs,” said Yakez Daughtry (12).

Making sure we aren’t spreading any type of illness is important. Freshmen Edison Berisa says he never shares food or drink and gives people personal space, “Stop coughing in people’s faces.”

Junior Carter Esparza says he washes his hands at least three times a day and prefers soap. He is staying inside more often to avoid getting sick and doesn’t share food or drink, “Duh.”

The district email with additional information is here: 

Dear Englewood Community,

While there are still no reported cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Colorado, there have been more confirmed cases in the United States and around the world. Because of that, we wanted to follow up on what Englewood Schools is doing to prepare for a possible pandemic as well as reiterate what families and staff members can do to stay healthy and to keep others from getting sick.

What is Englewood Schools doing?

Englewood Schools is creating and updating pandemic flu plans, in conjunction with local health partners and based on direction from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Englewood Schools’ Pandemic Flu plan is posted on our website here.

Additionally, we are increasing our cleaning protocols and disinfection efforts at schools as well as investing in additional equipment to make these processes faster and more efficient.

We are continuing to monitor the status of COVID-19 and are prepared to respond if any cases should occur in our state or district.

What You Should Know

Most people who contract COVID-19 have a mild illness and recover, but it can be more serious for some. Here are steps you can take (and encourage students to take) to keep everyone healthy:

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for more information about COVID-19, we recommend these resources:

For more information about COVID-19, please call the Colorado Health Emergency Line (CO HELP). This resource through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is a toll-free hotline for the latest public health information. You will receive consistent, accurate and reliable information about public health events in Colorado. The CO HELP number is 1-877-462-2911.

As always, we will continue to keep you updated as we receive more information and as the situation evolves.

Kind Regards,

Wendy Rubin, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Englewood Schools

This story was originally published on The Pirateer on March 13, 2020.