Mountain Valley Schools continue in-person learning

The Mountain Valley School District Board of Education shared reports and updated policies during their monthly meeting Nov. 17

SAGUACHE — Despite increases in COVID-19 cases in the San Luis Valley, Mountain Valley Schools in Saguache continues to be virus-free with students in the building and another football game on the schedule.


Superintendent Travis Garoutte credited staff and student discipline as well as diligent facilities crew members for keeping the building clean and safe. Garoutte described seeing school walls scrubbed for the first time in his career, which accounts for staff using 23 gallons of cleaning solutions so far this schoolyear.


Principal Kathy Hill said, “10 days of in-person learning has gone extremely well.” Hill noted changes to spacing for students eating lunch. Classrooms became hard to maintain with food consumed in a confined space. Using parts of the gym for lunch allows students to spread 12 feet apart.


Hill noted a few outdoor field trips on the calendar, including a visit to Russell Lakes this week.
The Mountain Valley football team will host Cotopaxi at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. Weather forecasters predict a 40% chance of snow, and Athletic Director Larry Hunt is still working with public health officials to determine a safe crowd size for the game.


Hill praised staff members in all departments for attending two four-hour training sessions last week. Capturing Kids Hearts concentrated on relationship-building, and the second workshop identified changes in behavior that can change dynamics with other people.


Garoutte also praised the sessions, which play into his daily interactions greeting the children each morning. Instead of blazing through the COVID-19 screen questions, Garoutte tosses in off-topic questions and brain-teasers to lighten the moment and strengthen the bond.


Board members added three old sinks, three garbage disposals and a few wooden folding tables to “surplus.” The board also approved 28 policy changes, including flexibility for shifting between remote, in-person and hybrid models.


Earlier in the day, board member Mona Lovato helped Saguache County conduct COVID-19 tests in Center and Moffat. The test results do not require special refrigeration, and results can be available 48 hours after the lab receives samples. Additional testing in Crestone and Saguache will yield results from the four largest communities in the county, valuable data for adjusting restraints according to risk level.


As of Nov. 18, the Saguache County Commissioners awaited test results before announcing a risk-level change.

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