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Gilpin Schools stick with in-person learning

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But will go back to remote-learning if needed

By Esmee Halsted

The Gilpin School Board meeting of November 17th, was mostly a discussion of the budget and an update on in-person schooling. With Covid cases rising, many schools are going remote. Parents voiced their opinions on the subject at the meeting. The Principals and Superintendent Dr. Dave MacKenzie also added in their piece.

The budget has been revised since the school is continually losing money. The mill levy on the November 3rd ballot did not pass. This measure would slightly increase property taxes. Gilpin School needed that increase, and as such had to revise the budget to work without it. Along with that, the casinos cannot donate as much money because of their losses during the Covid crisis. Generally, the school has received less funding, with cuts to education during the pandemic.

Most recently, the USA had a large spike in cases. Gilpin, being a small county, only has 76 confirmed cases. Still, two of those cases took place at Gilpin School. Gilpin does not plan on going to remote learning, unless Gilpin is handed a stay at home order by the state. Dr. Dave reported having a better hold on remote learning. Steve Boulter shared that he believed some remote learners were not doing any work, therefore the school needs to focus on the ones that are.

Rebecca Babin, who has two kids attending Gilpin School expressed her concern at the meeting. Rebecca works with Covid patients in Boulder. She mentioned other schools going remote. She acknowledged that some parents need their kids to do in-person school. Still, Rebecca noted that kids need to wear masks outside. She also noted high schoolers failing to socially distance, and parents who are sick sending their kids to school. To finish, Rebecca expressed how scary the virus is. She asked the board to think outside the box in order to keep everyone safe.

Alexis Donaldson, high school principal, gave her report to the board. She mentioned teacher in-services and the ways in which teachers are dealing with all types of learning. As such, teachers are stepping in to help with other classes. Mrs. Sales, gym teacher, is on family leave, and Alisa Witt will take over.

Heather Huntoon, elementary principal, also gave her report to the board. Huntoon spoke to remote learning: 10 kids have gone remote in the wake of the rise in cases. As such, they are working to help remote learners. The school hired a new preschool teacher, and is utilizing the computer teachers in order to help this need.

Dr. Dave, superintendent, explained what exactly is going on with Covid. He reported on the small outbreak at the school where a class was quarantined using contact tracing by the health department. Only two people tested positive. The Covid procedures have worked well to keep us safe, Dave explained. Remote-learning has also gone more smoothly.

It looks like Gilpin School will stay in-person for a bit longer. Even with a small outbreak, Gilpin School is doing well. Hopefully the budget cuts will not cause too many issues in the future.

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