CAÑON CITY — Cañon City Middle School students are back to online learning temporarily, after 14 COVID-19 cases were detected in the school.
"It's disappointing, right? You want kids to be in school. I want kids to be in school here. I don't want them home. I don't want them remote," said Jesse Oliver, the Principal at Cañon City Middle School.
5 staff members tested positive for the Coronavirus and 9 students.
Students are expected to resume in-person learning on September 13, after the school uses the closure for "extensive cleaning".
"We're bringing all our kids into this same space, there's no social distancing, there's no masking, it's just - Wait until something like this happens, and then we'll scrub down the building for 4 days," says Matt Starika, whose daughter is in 6th grade at the middle school.
Starika says he is one of the few parents in Cañon City who believes the school should implement a mask mandate to prevent future quarantines.
"We're just setting the course to have this go on and on and on and on, and this is really frustrating for parents. What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to be making sure our kids are learning? What do we do to make sure our kids are supervised during those times?"
Starika says parents were notified late on Friday after school had been released for the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
"As parents, we had no course of action to call and ask for questions. All we were given was an email link to ask questions and, to this point, none of those questions have been answered."
Oliver says 6 of the 14 cases of COVID-19 were not detected until nearly the end of the school day on Friday.
The Fremont County Health Department said they had no hand in the decision for Cañon City Middle School to switch to online learning for the week.
They also say they are not discussing implementing any mask mandate, but if the school district found a mandate necessary then the health department would support their decision.
As of now, Oliver says the decision for a mandate is "above his pay grade", but he does "not hear that there's going to be a mandate at all".