August is back to school month in the Grand Valley. Along with the typical list of school supplies needed and other preparations for students and teachers to return to the classroom, there is a lot

of discussion about two things related to education. First, is the discussion related to measures being taken to continue to contain the spread of COVID-19 and second is the upcoming School Board election. Voters will begin making choices for school board members in a majority of the seats and whether to bond to replace Grand Junction High School in just eleven weeks.

Let’s tackle the easy one (relatively speaking) first. There are three seats on the five-member Board of Education that will be up for election this year. Several candidates have already been announced, as the printing of this newsletter, and based on a search of the Colorado Secretary of State Tracer site several more have filed paperwork indicating they will run. As it typically has done in the past the Chamber will be engaged in providing information about the candidates and the issues this fall. There will be a candidate forum during our Quarterly Membership Luncheon on Monday, September 13th (location to be determined) and a Voters Guide will be published with the October newsletter featuring the candidates and their positions on business related issues.

Workforce issues are the number one concern for all of our members based on recent polling and developing the emerging workforce is as important as providing upskilling for our current employees. That work has to include a willing partner in the School District that is engaged with the Chamber and others in creating opportunities for our youth to not just graduate with a degree, but earn industry certifications and post-secondary academic credits leading to careers in all of our industry sectors. Bottom line—every employer as well as parents should be informed of our potential leadership options and actively engaged in this election. The Chamber will help you do that so stay tuned for more information as the election approaches.

In person learning and COVID-19 has been a rocky relationship for the past two school years and as we head into the 2021-2022 session it is more of the same. Here masks will not be required but highly encouraged as the school year begins in person on August 9th. However, a change in mitigation strategies may be imposed if we see case counts rise, so do your part. Encourage your employees to get vaccinated and consider hosting a vaccination event at your office – contact MCPH for more info. As parents, vaccinate your children who are now eligible for the vaccine – vaccines are available on a walk-in basis at MCPH. Vaccination is our fastest path back to normal as an economy, as a learning environment and as a community.

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