COLORADO SPRINGS — With the upcoming school year quickly approaching, local school districts are outlining COVID-19 protocols.
"I am as excited as can be. Last year, I taught exclusively online so this year being back with students is super exciting," said Andrea Brady, 3rd Grade teacher at Meridian Ranch Elementary.
With fewer restrictions for District 49, Brady is looking forward to a more fun school year.
"I'm really excited about field trips, we went to Garden of the Gods two years ago so I'm looking forward to going there again. Many projects that we weren't able to do, group projects, and things like that. I'm looking forward to students being able to work together and collaborate," said Brady.
Her classroom looks a little different than last year with no plexiglass barriers and socially distanced desks. The district isn't requiring face coverings in any of its campuses and will not enforce social distancing guidelines.
"I want parents to know that this is a safe place even though we aren't requiring masks or any of those things. We are respectful of all decisions, and we're still going to do hand washing and sanitizing," said Brady.
Colorado Springs District 11 will also not require face coverings this academic year.
"Regardless of vaccinated or not, they are highly recommended for all. We are not mandating masks, the governor did list the mask mandate for all of Colorado. That could change, and we are always keeping an eye on any changes coming down the pipe from our health agency," said Devra Ashby, Chief Communications Officer, Colorado Springs District 11.
Per the federal mandate, Ashby says face coverings will be required for students on school buses.
"The federal government has come forward and said all public transportation require masks. So we can't budge on that," said Ashby. "Our ventilation levels have been amped up 150 percent. We are excited we can welcome families to a near-normal opening again this school year. We also know there are some families out there that would prefer to keep their students at home. For that, we have created a K-8th traditional online school with Spark Online Academy."
Ashby recommends parents keep their contact information updated in the school's database and District 11's Loop.
"We notify our families of all of these changing things. Again, changes can come rapidly and so we ask that they are registered in the Loop," said Ashby.
As the delta variant continues to impact the state, Ashby says they'll be ready to pivot if need be. In the meantime, teachers are just excited for a new school year.
"A lot of fun, a lot of laughter, and community," said Brady.
Other districts are still finalizing their COVID-19 protocols for the academic year.