A-A schools break early under COVID illness

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Faced with a shortage of teachers, Alta-Aurelia school board had to hold a special meeting to consider going into holiday break a day earlier than planned.

Superintendent William Walters said that on the Monday before Christmas, 17 staff members were out sick, many with COVID-19 and some with other ailments.

The student body also wasn’t immune, with about 45 kids out sick that day. In some cases, students were exposed to COVID through family members and needed to quarantine, Walters said.

The superintendent felt the district has weathered the pandemic well.

“We had a mask mandate from day one, and I think we have benefitted greatly from that,” Walters said. “This is the only big bump we’ve had, and I’ll take that. I have to commend our staff, families and the kids.”

All of the district’s COVID policies will remain in place into second semester and likely until school lets out next spring, Walters said, despite some brighter COVID numbers on the statewide level.

While the district misses the ability to do concerts and plays, and to open sports to the public, “we’re finding a way to make it work,” Walters said. “I have to give a shout out to our Athletic Director Grant Peckenschneider, he’s done a fantastic job throughout this situation. We will stick with everything we’re doing because it has overall been pretty successful.”

Walters hopes COVID protections continue to be stressed throughout the state’s schools. “It can be so easy to get lulled into thinking things are good, and then you get hit with something like what we have now.”