Dear Del Norte Unified Families and County Residents,
Del Norte Public Health and the Del Norte Unified School District were notified today of two positive cases of students with COVID-19, one at Crescent Elk Middle School and one at Smith River School, both in the Monday/Wednesday cohorts. In both cases, we had been previously notified of close contacts, and the two students were quarantined at that time to avoid any further exposure to other students or staff.
In neither case did the students contract COVID-19 at school.
The occurrence of positive cases means that the following steps will be put into place immediately:
Public Health, with cooperation of the District, will begin contact tracing.
-All affected students and staff, in the two cohorts only, will be placed on quarantine for 14 calendar days. Schools will notify those families regarding how to access school by distance learning.
-The District will work with the schools to clean and disinfect the classrooms, per California Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines, and in accordance with the District Epidemic/Pandemic Safety Plan.
-Based on contact tracing by Public Health, any other students or staff who were in close contact with the positive cases may be quarantined.
-COVID-19 testing will most likely be recommended for all quarantined students and staff, and they should contact their local healthcare provider or follow directions from Public Health when contacted.
At this time, no school closures are recommended. Individual school closure is recommended based on the number of cases, the percentage of the teacher/students/staff that are positive for COVID-19, in consultation with our county Public Health department. Individual school closure may be appropriate when there are multiple cases in multiple cohorts at a school or when at least 5 percent of the total number of teachers/student/staff are cases within a 14-day period, depending on the size and physical layout of the school.
Public Health and the District have been and will continue to work closely together to help our schools and community remain healthy and safe. Please remember that this is why our schools are implementing cohorts and why the wearing of face coverings, physical distancing, and hand washing or sanitizing are so important.
As Dr. Rehwaldt has stated many times, we will not be able to stop the virus or ensure that no one contracts it, but we can minimize exposure, slow the spread, and continue to take a slow, methodical, and thoughtful approach to students returning to school.
Thank you for helping to ensure the health and wellness of everyone in our community.
Warren Rehwaldt, MD, Public Health Officer
Jeff Harris, Superintendent
A Message from DNUSD
Just a few reminders as we prepare to welcome students back to school in-person on Monday, October 5:
All transitional kindergarten through 8th-grade schools and the Smith River preschool will begin in-person cohorts this week. You should have been contacted by your child’s school to let you know if they were attending the M/W or T/Th cohort. Students participating in distance learning should have been notified as well. Sunset High, Community School, and state preschools will continue to operate as they have this week.
DNHS will continue to offer distance learning to 9-12 grade students. DNHS is currently in the process of designing and creating afternoon, in-person learning cohorts and will communicate with students and parents when those students will begin physically attending school.
All students attending in person will be required to bring a completed self-screening form with them to enter the bus, school, or classroom. These screeners have been mailed to each student’s home. A copy of the screener can also be found at www.dnusd.org/familyresources, printed, and sent with your child. Children who do not bring a screening form will be screened at school and might be sent home if they are presenting COVID-like symptoms.
All students are required to wear a face-covering when riding the bus, walking through campus, or in any public space on campus. Students from the age of 2 through 2nd grade are not required to wear face coverings in the classroom, but wearing a face-covering is strongly encouraged and will be taught as an important way to keep the classroom healthy. Buses, schools, and classrooms will also have face coverings for students if they do not bring one with them. Face coverings include cloth face coverings, disposable, exam-style masks, and other cloth face coverings that meet the California Department of Public Health guidelines.
Monday we welcome families back part time to our campus. There have been a ton of changes in the last few weeks to prepare. If you have any questions or concerns or you're not sure what to do next week, please call our office at 707-464-0330. We mailed out information to families that were planning to return, some have moved from distance learning to attend in person, if you did not receive the information, the packets are available to pick up in our office Monday-Friday 8 am to 3 pm. The information can also be found here. The cohort days will be different for each student, so if you're not sure please call the office.
There will also be new class lists posted in the window today (10/1/2020) to help you better understand where your child will be and what days.
Thank you for your patience and understanding while we all learn this new way of schooling.
Degrees and Certifications:
Mrs. Denise Harnden
Welcome to Joe Hamilton Elementary School. I am proud to say that I am currently in my 36th year as an educator in Del Norte Schools. I was a teacher for 26 years teaching in all grades from Kindergarten through high school. This will be the start of my tenth year as a Principal. Nine of these years have been spent at Joe Hamilton School. It is my pleasure to work with the staff, students, and families at Joe Hamilton and I am looking forward to another great year.
At Joe Hamilton School we implement PBIS(Positive Behaviors and Supports). We are always mindful of Safe, Respectful, and Responsible choices. The staff continues to dedicate themselves to developing both academic and social/emotional curriculum for all students.
Communication is key to a successful education at any level. Our team believes that home and school working together can produce excellent results. We appreciate that you have entrusted your child(ren) to our care and we look forward to serving you. In fact, research has shown that the higher the level of parental involvement the higher the achievement level of the child. Attendance is also key to your child's success in school. We believe students need to be in school All day, every day!
We provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. We are able to provide a healthy morning snack to all of our students three days a week and we have an After School Program that is available each day until 6:00 pm.
We look forward to serving you at Joe Hamilton School whether you are new to the district or a returning family. I am proud of our school's warm welcoming environment, our goal is to treat your child(ren) with the love and respect that we treat our own children.
Please remember we have an open-door policy, and I look forward to getting to know you and your student(s).
Denise Harnden, Principal