Students in the Superior School District can expect to continue virtual learning through the December holidays, according to a letter sent to families Wednesday, Nov. 18, from Superintendent Amy Starzecki.

Starzecki cited high COVID-19 rates in Douglas County as the main factor. As of Wednesday, the county has a rate of 113 cases per 10,000 people within the past two weeks.

"Earlier this fall, we were averaging approximately 5-10 new cases each day. Currently, we are averaging approximately 40 new cases daily," Starzecki said.

She also cited the inability to track the number of students and staff who have tested positive since switching to the full virtual learning model.

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"We no longer have an accurate picture of rates among staff and students as public health is overwhelmed by the number of cases and contact tracing," Starzecki said.

The district will continue to work with Douglas County Public Heath to guide decision-making.

If high numbers of new positive cases continue after the holidays, Starzecki said the administration and school board will consider possible modifications for the virtual learning plan. She also sympathized with parents who are frustrated with virtual learning.

"As an educator and mom, I know how hard it is to support your child in the full virtual model. I feel frustrated with the daily reminders of practicing good digital citizenship and completing academic tasks," Starzecki said. "Additionally, we know schools provide much more than learning, such as social experiences, exercise, nutrition and mental health support. We all want our kids back in school as soon as possible."

While in the virtual learning model, free meals for all children 18 and under will continue to be provided by curbside pickup, mobile sites and rural bus routes in the community.