WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Greeley-Evans School District 6 announced on Thursday that all schools, including charter schools, will move to remote learning next week. The change will last through the Winter Break, according to school officials.

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The district said COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise at an alarming rate. Weld County has a 15% two-week average positivity rate, according to the state’s dial dashboard. The county’s two-week cumulative incidence rate is currently 810 out of every 100,000 people.

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“We have closed a third of our schools in recent days, and we continue to quarantine numerous cohorts daily,” the district said in a Facebook post on Thursday. “We are contact tracing more than 3,000 individual students and staff who are currently quarantined, and we have exceeded the capacity to manage these numbers.”

Starting on Monday, all high schools will move to remote learning. Kindergarten through 8th grade will have Monday off school to prepare for a move to remote learning on Tuesday. School officials will provide preschool parents with supplemental learning materials.

Greeley-Evans School District 6 plans to return to in-person learning on Jan. 5. If that is not possible, school officials plan to share plans for the second semester by mid-December.

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“I need to be clear that most of the cases we are seeing in our schools are linked back to a positive family member, a weekend get-together, a Halloween party, or a student or staff member who came to the school while sick,” stated Superintendent Dr. Deirdre Pilch. “Individual choices and behavior within the community are causing this virus to spread at an alarming rate and impacting our ability to have students in our schools.”

Dr. Pilch met with local health officials on Tuesday who said the recent surge in COVID-19 cases is causing a high number of hospitalizations. Hospitals are adding beds, but health officials said they do not have enough staff to serve more patients.

RELATED: ‘Dramatic’ Nursing Shortage Adding To COVID Woes For Colorado Hospitals

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported on Thursday that a quarter of all hospitals and facilities in the state anticipate a staff shortage within the next week.

“We must manage our behavior, so we are able to bring our students back. Colorado health officials are asking that we only socialize with those living in our home,” said Dr. Pilch. “The Centers for Disease Control says that wearing a mask and keeping distance from people are the best ways to stop the spread of the virus out in public. Washing hands, frequently disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, and stopping all social activities outside the home are also essential.”

Greeley-Evans School District 6 has more information about the switch to remote learning on their website.

Audra Streetman

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