Colorado schools likely to be closed for the remainder of the school year, governor says

Posted at 3:21 PM, Mar 31, 2020

DENVER — Colorado school students will likely not return to their classrooms for the remainder of the school year, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said Monday during a press briefing.

All of the state's 181 school districts announced closures more than two weeks ago as the COVID-19 pandemic began to get a foothold in Colorado.

When the closures were announced, many of the districts were already in spring break or about to release students for the yearly week-long break, with some deciding to extend the break instead of canceling. But as the epidemic spread, the closures remained in place.

Polis said those closures would likely stay in place for the remainder of the school year.

"All school districts… should prepare for traditional in classroom instruction to not return this school year," said Polis. "I like to be an optimist, so it is possible, very unlikely."

Instead, many districts are launching remote learning. Classes are already in session online at several districts across the state.

Students at JeffCo Public Schools completed their first week of remote learning last week, and the superintendent was pleased with the way everyone was adapting.

"Well, it's a Herculean shift and lift for a district the size of JeffCo to do this," said Dr. Jason Glass, superintendent for JeffCo Public Schools.

Polis praised those districts for quickly adapting to the new technology.

"Thanks, superintendents, teachers, principals across the state. Thank you for doing things a little differently, using new tech," said Polis.

Denver Public Schools is also working to put a remote learning plan in place. Officials said the biggest focus is access to technology and equity. That's why the district purchased 9,000 Chromebooks last week.

"I think as much as possible, we want to make sure that everybody has access to similar resources, but our plan also includes ways to provide instruction that don't require that," said Tamara Acevedo, Deputy Superintendent of Academics for Denver Public Schools.

Polis said he Will work on formal guidance as far as when or if districts could reopen at any time this school year. But he said unless positive news comes out, schools will remain closed.