Students in public schools across the Denver region will not return to their classrooms for the remainder of the academic year as districts keep their buildings closed to in-person learning in a continued effort to slow the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, Denver Public Schools announced Friday.
The following school districts announced a continuation of remote learning for the rest of the school year:
- 27J Schools
- Adams 12 Five Star Schools
- Adams 14 Schools
- Aurora Public Schools
- Cherry Creek School District
- Clear Creek School District
- Denver Public Schools
- Douglas County Schools
- Englewood Schools
- Jeffco Public Schools
- Littleton Public Schools
- Mapleton Public Schools
- Sheridan School District 2
- Westminster Public Schools
Once the statewide stay-at-home orders is lifted, the statement said, it’s expected that Colorado residents still will have restrictions on social distancing and the size of group gatherings for at least several weeks and, maybe, months.
“Given the nature of a school environment (classrooms, passing periods, buses, playgrounds, etc.), these restrictions are not practical within the school setting,” the statement said. “As such, there does not appear to be a viable way for us to convene traditional in-person learning this school year.”
DPS confirmed that for its district, the announcement also includes the cancellation of all athletic events, extracurricular activities, prom and in-person graduation ceremonies.
On Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis extended the closure of all public and private schools in Colorado through April 30 due to the pandemic, noting that some districts would make the decision to continue with remote learning for the remainder of the school year.
Larimer County’s Thompson and Poudre school districts were the first in the state to announce the end to in-person learning for the rest of this school year on Thursday as the global COVID-19 pandemic upended most aspects of daily life.
Since mid-March, the classroom desks of Colorado’s more than 900,000 students have been vacant. Some of Colorado’s nearly 180 districts already had shuttered to align with social distancing guidelines that public health experts urged would help lessen the spread of the respiratory illness. By March 18, Polis mandated a four-week statewide closure for all K-12 schools in Colorado, an order that has since been extended.
Some districts transitioned to remote learning early like Jeffco Public Schools and Westminster Public Schools.
Denver Public Schools officials have taken the few weeks since the district closure to prepare to teach their more than 90,000 students at a distance, trying to account for equity issues like lack of technology and internet access.
Remote learning begins Tuesday in DPS.
“Providing a concrete direction now with regard to in-person learning for the duration of the school year allows us to focus our energy and attention to addressing questions and concerns, rather than ongoing uncertainty,” the joint statement said. “It will also allow us, as school district leaders, to shift to a proactive stance in that we can begin to plan for completing the current year remotely, and returning to school in August when we are able to joyfully welcome our students, staff and families back into our buildings.”
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