Remote learning is becoming a long-term reality for many Colorado students, as COVID-19 cases continue to reach historic levels and force several school districts to reconsider plans for in-person learning.
Administrators with Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Adams County School District 14 and Aurora Public Schools have joined Denver Public Schools in announcing recently that they would either pivot to or extend remote learning based on advice from local health officials.
The Adams 14 board voted unanimously last week to continue virtual education for all students through Dec. 17, the end of the second quarter. Grades kindergarten through 12th have been remote since the school year started in late August. In a note to families, acting Superintendent Don Rangel said the decision to stick with virtual learning was based on COVID-19 data, including the positivity and incident rates within district boundaries.
According to the Tri-County Health Department, the positivity rate within the Adams 14 geographic limits was nearly 18% for the two weeks ending Oct. 18. There were also about 539 cases per 100,000 people over the same time period.
“Right now, we have extremely high positivity rates in many of our school districts,” said Adam Anderson, informatics, epidemiology, and health planning manager at Tri-County Health Department. “We’ve been seeing this trend happening for the past five weeks — a continuous, gradual increase — and it’s definitely increased over the past two weeks in incident rate and positivity across all our counties.”
That’s also why Adams 12 Five Star is considering a pivot to remote learning for all middle and high school students, who currently attend two days of in-person school. Superintendent Chris Gdowski recently proposed a plan that has sixth- through 12th-graders taking classes virtually through the end of the fall semester with the promise that teachers and schedules would remain the same. Kindergarten through fifth-grade students would continue taking in-person classes five days a week under the proposed plan.
The Adams 12 board will vote on the proposal Wednesday, and any change in learning format would take effect Thursday.
High school students in Aurora Public Schools have been learning remotely since the start of the semester, and this week the district decided they will continue to do so until at least Nov. 13. APS, which began welcoming back students in preschool through eighth grade for in-person classes last week, is also reevaluating the learning format for primary students, Superintendent Rico Munn told families.
Denver Public Schools announced last week that middle and high schoolers would remain in virtual learning through Nov. 6 as the district keeps an eye on the evolving COVID-19 conditions. Students in second through fifth are returning for in-person learning Wednesday for the first time this school year.
Cherry Creek School District, Jeffco Public Schools, Douglas County School District, Littleton Public Schools, Mapleton Public Schools and Westminster Public Schools will continue to host in-person learning, The Denver Post confirmed.
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