Westminster schools will return to in-person learning despite COVID-19 trends

As an increasing number of Denver-area school districts move students and staff to online learning in light of COVID-19, one is shifting in the opposite direction.

On Nov. 2, Westminster Public Schools transitioned all students and staff to remote education for two weeks, citing concerning community spread of the novel coronavirus. The district’s roughly 8,500 students will return as planned on Monday, confirmed spokesman Stephen Saunders.

“We were encouraged to hear remarks from Dr. (John) Douglas in Tri-County (Health Department) and Governor Polis last week about schools being ‘relatively’ safe places to be,” Saunders said.

The district is offering free COVID-19 testing to all students and staff on Thursday, through COVIDCheck Colorado, in hopes of catching students who may be asymptomatic before they return to school. Those interested should preregister before stopping by Westminster High School from 7 to 10 a.m. to get tested.

“We know that many young people can have the virus but be asymptomatic,” Superintendent Pam Swanson said in a statement. “If we can identify those students earlier, we can do a better job of safeguarding our schools and protecting families.”

Westminster Public Schools is taking a decidedly different approach than many of its neighboring districts. This week, Adams 12 Five Star Schools decided to move all students to online learning through the end of the fall semester, as did Boulder Valley School District. Jeffco Public Schools is also likely following suit, though it has yet to make a formal announcement.

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