COLORADO SPRINGS — With the start of the academic year for most local school districts fast approaching, leaders in those districts are working to finalize contingency plans in the wake of COVID-19.
“What we’re trying to do is build up the safest plan that we can, and get students back to some sense of normalcy for August 17 when we start back to school,” Colorado Springs District 11 spokesperson Devra Ashby said.
She said the district has been working hard since in-person classes abruptly ended in March to figure out the best way to teach students this fall.
“We know the risk of not returning to in-person learning is far greater to our students than to continue with remote learning,” Ashby said. “We do have an amazing team of educators who are working over the summer-taking their time off, that would usually be their time off—and their putting their talent to use so we can build several different options for our families when they return.”
The district sent out a survey to families seeking their input for fall semester plans. The survey is available until Friday, July 10. She said so far, about 75% of responses were in favor of returning to school.
“We know that in-person is still the most in demand from what our families have been telling us,” she said.
Ashby said she expects the official plans to be set by late July or early August, but the district already has some ideas they’re working to fine-tune. Right now, they’re looking at offering students the option to attend classes in person, or continue online learning.
For students attending school in person, Ashby said the district is looking into implementing block schedules or separating students into separate cohorts that would stay together all day, in order to limit how many students interact with others.
District 11 published its 'Return to Learn' plan online.
In Falcon Distrct 49, spokesperson Dave Nancarrow said they, too, are exploring the cohort system.
D49 was scheduled to start classes on August 3.
“That first week is going to look more like a planning week,” Nancarrow said.
Tentatively, starting August 3, teachers and staff to prepare and practice new safety measure, with students returning on August 7.
He said the district has also reached out to parents and students for feedback.
“The responses that we are getting largely lean toward the preference to return to school in the school environment,” he said.
On Monday, Nancarrow couldn’t give a firm date for when the district could announce final reopening plans, but said to stay on the lookout.
“I would say to continue to keep an eye on our websites and our regular forms of communication as we really try to move toward that point,” Nancarrow said.
District 49 posted all available back-to-school information on its website as well.
Find the latest on plans to return back to the classroom this fall in your child's district:
Fremont RE-1 (Cañon City Schools)
Fremont RE-3 (Cotopaxi)
Cheyenne Mountain D12
Colorado Springs School D11
Cripple Creek-Victor RE-1
Crowley County RE-1-J
Custer County C-1
East Otero R-1 (La Junta)
Fountain-Fort Carson D8
La Veta RE-2
Las Animas RE-1
Lewis Palmer D38
Manitou Springs D14
Pueblo City Schools D60
Pueblo County Schools D70
Rocky Ford R-2
Woodland Park RE-2