Southern Colorado colleges and Academy District 20 prep for coronavirus

Posted at 9:48 PM, Mar 10, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — Schools in southern Colorado are ramping up efforts to keep students and staff safe as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Some local colleges are even extending their spring break. Come next weekend you won't see students back at Colorado College as the school has decided to extend its spring break by one week, until March 29th. After that only distance-learning classes will resume. The college says with the exception of some people who've gotten special permission all students should plan to remain off campus from spring break through at least April 15th and possibly the rest of the academic year.

Other schools in the area are also preparing for the worst.

Brantley Robertson, a parent in Academy District 20, said, "We're just kind of waiting. I mean, it's just a funny feeling to not really know what's going on."

The unknown - it's what many people in D20 are grappling with when it comes to the coronavirus.

Allison Cortez, director for communication, said, "Everything is changing so quickly. We might have to shut down one classroom or we could have to shut down the district."

Between students and staff there's about 30,000 people in D20 to consider when making plans to deal with the virus.

Cortez said, "We don't know how far we're going to be impacted."

But rest assured - the district is looking at a lot of different options and working to determine what will be best if the coronavirus makes its mark in D20.

Cortez said, "We're still trying to figure out what is feasible as far as E-Learning or I know some other districts might be talking about would there be makeup days?"

While the district doesn't have all the answers right now of what's to come Cortez said, "What our community can count on is that we'll be telling them in real time any changes, any updates, any new information."

Emily Coen, another D20 parent, said, "It doesn't seem like too much of a problem, but I'm glad that the district is doing something proactive to prepare for it."

Cortez said, "I know it's scary, but there is no need to freak out."

At the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Director of Communications Jared Verner said, "We're operating normally, but we're continuing to monitor. We are increasing our cleaning rounds in a lot of the high-contact spots." He shared that the school is also keeping students, staff, and parents informed.

Verner said, "We're not getting a lot of the concern that I think a lot of people are seeing on social media."

Plans are also being made if things go south.

"We've already identified classes that could potentially go to an online format."

On top of that - figuring out what to do with classes that need a different setting.

Verner said, "We're far enough into the semester that we want to make sure that students have the opportunity to complete what they started."

News 5 also received information from CSU-Pueblo. The school shared that planning is underway to prepare for normal or remote operations. There haven't been a lot of cancellations except for some university-sponsored travel events and spring travel programs.

To stay updated on plans for all these schools follow the links below.

CLICK HERE for updates in Academy District 20.

CLICK HERE for updates at Colorado College.

CLICK HERE for updates at UCCS.

CLICK HERE for updates at CSU-Pueblo.