As community leaders continue meeting and formulating emergency plans to confront the coronavirus outbreak, a number of Montezuma County events have been canceled or postponed.
These range from school activities to arts events to meetings. Many of the cancellations came after leaders at a multiagency meeting March 12 that recommended public gatherings be avoided for the next few weeks.
“We recognize that scheduled public events involving personal contact within groups of individuals carries a significant risk of introducing or spreading COVID-19 within our community,” says a release from the Montezuma County multiagency coordination group. “In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we recommend that holding such events in Montezuma County or attending events elsewhere should be avoided for the next 21 days.”
The group included the Montezuma County Public Health Department, Montezuma County, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Department, city of Cortez, Cortez Police Department, Cortez Fire Protection District, Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1, Mancos School District Re-6, Southwest Memorial Hospital, Cortez Integrated Health System, National Park Service, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Dolores County Public Health Department, town of Mancos and Southwest Colorado Health Care Coalition.
As of Monday morning, March 16, here are some of the local events and activities affected by the recommendation:
Montezuma County schools
The Colorado High School Activities Association has suspended all activities statewide through April 6, and on Thursday the Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 announced that it would cancel all sports, sports practices, extracurricular activities, and community events in its facilities for 21 days.
All three districts have shared closure criteria issued by the office of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. The guidelines state that if one student or staff member at a site test positive for COVID-19, the school should close for 72 hours to clean and disinfect; with two positive cases, a school should close for 6 days total; if three or more students or staffers test positive, a school should close for 14 days; and if three schools in a district have confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a 30-day period, all district sites should close for at least 14 days for cleaning, testing and public health investigation.
Montezuma-Cortez School District R-1 on Saturday, decided to extend spring break and close all schools from March 16 to March 27. Essential personnel will receive enhanced training to do the important disinfecting that needs to be done to ensure the buildings are ready for students to return“The district leadership did not make this decision lightly, but we feel a responsibility to follow guidance and directives we are receiving regarding reducing the risk of introducing or spreading COVID-19 in our community,” the district stated in a news release.
This includes the spring high school musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” which was set to open March 13.
“We have postponed the show to April 24 at 7 p.m. and April 25 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., if all the dust settles by then,” theater director Nicholaus Sandner told The Journal.
The Dolores School District Re-4A announced Thursday that all international and out-of-state travel for school-sponsored trips was being restricted. The district also said that those who traveled out of state for spring break could possibly be quarantined when they came back.Spring break will be extended and schools will be closed March 16 to March 27
All middle school sports and activities were also suspended starting Friday, March 13, until further notice.
No team practices or games/events will be allowed.
The Mancos School District Re-6 announced that no out-of-state travel bans had yet been issued for school-sponsored activities, but that it would monitor the situation.Mancos school officials plan to meet Tuesday, March 17, to determine whether spring break will be extended. Parents will be notified via email.
“There have been several school districts across the state that have activated travel bans outside of the state for any school sponsored activity,” staff wrote in a release on March 12. “As of today, our district has not taken that action, but we will be re-assessing when we return from spring break.”
Pueblo Community College – Southwest is extending its spring break by a week.“This extra week will allow us to transition most courses to remote learning so we can minimize the number of people on campus and practice social distancing with courses that will still need to be held in person,” the college stated.
PCC students will receive specific instructions on their classes by March 27, with school starting up again on March 30. Some courses, like nursing clinical rotations and welding, will not have a remote learning option, so PCC deans will provide additional information surrounding these classes.
Community events and servicesA variety of community events and performances have also been canceled because of the virus outbreak.
The city of Cortez announced Monday it would close the Cortez Public Library and Recreation Center to help protect staff and residents from exposure to the coronavirus, effective immediately.City parks will remain open, but bathrooms will be closed indefinitelyThe Four States Ag Expo has been postponed because of the threat of the coronavirus, organizers announced Friday.The event has been rescheduled for Sept. 25-27, said coordinator Cindy Claire.
All three public libraries in the county have canceled special events and programming for the coming weeks. The Mancos library announced Monday it will close effective Tuesday until further notice.
The Cortez Public Library also has closed indefinitely, starting March 17.
The Dolores library is closing its meeting rooms to the public and canceling all scheduled programming. Dolores library staff plan to cancel events through April 12.
For Pets’ Sake Humane Society’s spring yard sale fundraiser, scheduled for April 1-4, has been postponed. Details: 565-PETS/7387.Radio station KSJD and the Sunflower Theatre have will limit access to their Main Street offices, and that all Sunflower shows will be postponed through April 6. Volunteer DJ shifts will also be suspended through April 6, as office access will be limited to “essential staff,” according to a statement released KSJD.The annual Mancos Melt festival, scheduled for March 14, has been postponed (although organizers say this is because of the weather).The St. Patrick’s Day dinner at the Montezuma County Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Post No. 5231.The Dolores Chamber of Commerce pushed its spring banquet to Saturday, April 25.Additional closures?If you have closures to report email them to [email protected].