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Blue Ridge Update - January 1, 2021

Dear Blue Ridge Family:

Happy New Year!

We're confident this year will be much better than the last. Despite the growth of the virus in our County and immediate area, we remain hopeful to soon safely return to in-person instruction, as the future looks more promising given the development of a vaccine.

Nonetheless, immediate and near-term local conditions require our schools remain online-only beginning January 4 for two weeks. Unfortunately, our community is suffering the highest positivity and hospitalization rates yet experienced in this pandemic. Sadly, these measures are soaring statewide.

We remain committed to protecting our students, staff, and community members by taking responsible actions to slow the disease's spread locally by doing our part.  

On January 18, 2021, conditions permitting, we hope to return to in-person learning for grades K-6 and hybrid learning for grades 7-12. This organization enables schools to incorporate meaningful physical distancing and daily sanitation measures in the upper grades while acknowledging the difficulty younger students experience with distance learning.

We hope to have all grades return to face-to-face instruction in February. Distance learning, however, will continue for families wishing to remain online-only.

We appreciate our teachers working so hard to support their students during such a challenging year. We also welcome the arrival of Mark Vest, Kyle Willis, and Ryan Grace as members of our Blue Ridge teaching staff.

Please consider, Blue Ridge has implemented safety precautions at each school. Key components include daily health checks, onsite COVID testing of anyone demonstrating symptoms, and engagement when positive cases and exposures occur. Our schools will continue working closely with County officials in their contact tracing and reporting efforts.

Moreover, all receive temperature checks twice daily, with strict adherence to mask-wearing and physical distancing measures. Daily cleaning and disinfecting also occur. Our schools will redouble their efforts in these critical areas when in-person instruction resumes.

We appreciate our facilities and maintenance teams for all they do to keep our schools safe and looking great!

VACCINATION EFFORTS

Thankfully, all school employees qualify for participation in the State's 1-b group vaccination program. We anticipate the administration of the vaccine for group 1-b beginning in approximately two weeks. All employees are encouraged to receive the vaccination to help slow the transmission of disease. Instructions for participation are soon forthcoming.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITY INFORMATION

BRHS and BRJHS adhere to recommendations set forth by the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) regarding the timing and protocols of extracurricular activities. Therefore, the Winter sports competition is delayed until January 18, 2021.

Further, involvement in extracurricular activities carries enhanced risks of contracting the virus. Thus, parents, student-athletes, and coaches participate voluntarily. Please note, before participation, all HS/JHS athletes must have a signed COVID Waiver on file.

Additionally, our schools follow strict protocols and procedures implemented by the AIA to reduce the virus's spread. We will share more information regarding Winter athletic programs shortly.

Next, we congratulate Bob London on his successful and outstanding coaching career. With Coach London's retirement in May, the Yellowjacket family welcomes home Jeremy Hathcock as Blue Ridge's Head Football Coach beginning the summer of 2021.

IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY

Recently purchased computers for high school students will provide an improved online learning experience. Distribution of the new computers will occur in the second week of January. Please stay tuned for more details.

The technology team works hard to provide excellent support for any experiencing problems. Please use studentsupport@brusd.org for quick answers and troubleshooting, and I.T. support. We are grateful for Team Technology's ongoing efforts to support our students and teachers!

SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

We remain vigilant regarding the emotional welfare of all. 'At Risk' populations (including specific special education designations, English Language Learners, and those residing in foster care settings) are carefully monitored and invited to meet with counselors and administrators on campus and in small group settings. However, all students will remain online-only in the first week of January.

Parents, please contact your child's school principal or counselors if assistance is needed. Thanks to our school counselors and dedicated administrators for supporting our students and staff members.  

DELIVERY OF MEALS (BREAKFAST AND LUNCH) CONTINUES

Daily food distribution resumes January 4, 2021, at established bus routes communitywide. Federally sponsored meals provide kids a sustainable food source needed in this time of crisis. Meals will be delivered and provided onsite once in-person learning returns to each campus.

We are grateful to the dedicated food and transportation teams for their service to our students and community.

THANK YOU TO ALL HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS!

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all engaged in the effort of caring for those afflicted by the virus. We are so grateful for your selfless work and ongoing sacrifices. We love, pray for, and appreciate you!

OUR HEARTS AND PRAYERS

Lastly, we recognize many have suffered loss, hardships, and disappointments during the past ten months. Our hearts and prayers go out to any suffering the death of a loved one and those stricken with COVID. We are also sensitive to the conditions of job loss and unemployment. May God bless you in your efforts and grant us all a brighter 2021!

 

Respectfully,

 

Mike Wright