October 2021 COVID-19 Monthly Summary

Cases for October

During the month of October, the district reported 90 cases of COVID-19 in staff and student populations across all 12 school sites. To date, the district has not been in the outbreak category. There were a couple of instances where more than one individual tested positive from a classroom, but it is not considered an outbreak nor is it determined there was any transmission at the school.

We have been able to avoid most quarantines and keep kids in school. As an example last year at this time, on average, we had 20 individuals in quarantine for every positive case. At this time last year, for the month of October 2020, the district had 38 positive cases; with the 20 individuals on average quarantined per each case, that would have been approximately 760 students.  As of Oct 26, 2021, we only had 48 students in quarantine. Our reporting is showing the highest numbers of cases between 6-11 years old, likely due to the fact that they are the most vulnerable population due to a lack of vaccine availability for this age group.

Vaccination Rates and Clinics

Vaccination rates are increasing in middle schools with 33.5% at MMS and 33% at EMS. Vaccines were just approved for children aged 5-11, and the school district is working with San Juan Basin Public Health to arrange clinics for students and their families at specific school sites. In the first week of November, the CDC recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. Now, everyone in the Durango community ages 5 and older is eligible to be vaccinated and can help protect themselves and their loved ones against COVID-19. The approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for young children is an important step to helping reduce our risk for infection and transmission in our schools and our community.

A number of Durango school sites will be utilized by San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) for vaccine clinics serving students ages 5-11 over the next week. At this time, these clinics are only for students, family members, and staff of our schools. Vaccines being offered at the clinics include:

Pfizer pediatric dose for 5-11 year olds
Pfizer 12+
Moderna 18+
J&J 18+

Click HERE for a full list of sites and times.

Vaccines are available at various locations across Durango, so please visit the SJPBH website, which has specific information about vaccines for children and adults, including clinic locations, clinic times, and other details.

Serial COVID-19 Testing Pilot Program

Park Elementary School, Escalante Middle School, and Durango High School are participating as the pilot schools enrolled in Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s free, voluntary, and statewide COVID-19 school testing program for the 2021-22 school year.  The COVID-19 testing program is available to all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status or presence of symptoms. School testing will be implemented with the help of a state contractor.

All students under 18 must obtain parental/guardian consent to participate in this voluntary program.  Through Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) Reopening Schools award funds, students are eligible to receive an incentive, regardless of their current vaccination status. A participating student will receive $25 for the first COVID-19 test administered to them through this program. A student can then receive $10 for every subsequent test that is administered each week (at a maximum of one incentive allowed per week). Parents may choose to opt out of the individual student incentives.

Durango School District 9-R will expand the program to include additional campuses in the coming weeks.  Please watch for more information from your child’s school.