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D49 postpones start of school by a week, teachers still concerned about going back

School will now start on August 17
D49 postpones start of school; teachers still concerned
Posted at 12:01 AM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 09:16:02-04

PEYTON — School District 49 will push back to start of school to Aug. 17, falling in line with El Paso County’s recommendations. But some staff still worry it’s not worth the risk to go back to school in person.

The school board passed a resolution to push back the start of school during a virtual meeting Monday afternoon.

The resolution says if conditions remain the same, there will be an option to learn fully online or return to campuses with social distancing practices in place. No matter what, the first day of school will be Aug. 17.

There’s a possibility if the county goes back to “safe at home" status, classes will start fully online. The final decisions will come by Aug. 10, according to the resolution.

But for some teachers and staff, the thought of going back to school in person at all feels risky.

“I’m afraid,” Horizon Middle School Counselor Audrey Dazey told News5. “I feel like we’ve addressed almost everything in half-measures.”

Dazey has been a counselor at the school for almost 20 years.

“We don’t have enough space or enough staff to do any sort of six-foot social distancing,” Dazey said. “It’s going to be more like three feet.”

She said even with the best precautions in place, there’s only so much staff can control to stop the spread of the virus.

“We have to remember, we’re working with kids,” Dazey said. “They’re going to do what they can, but masks are going to come off and things are going to happen.”

If it was up to Dazey, she said she’d start the year with everyone online.

“I think, from day one—all of us, kids and staff coming in from the community, we will have cases, day one,” She said.

It’s a tough call, not an easy decision in the slightest. But she’d rather be safe than sorry.

“It’ll be a very different environment, and I don’t think people realize how difficult it’s gonna be,” She said.

At Monday’s board meeting district leaders made it very clear they are open to any and all feedback and trying to accommodate it the best they can.

They said the plans can always change if conditions warrant it, but they still need to have something in place now, to get the school year on track.

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