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APS delays start of new school year

Most students will now return to class on Aug. 18, according to a message on the district's website.

AURORA, Colo — The Aurora Public School District (APS) became the second major metro area school district to announce this week that it will delay the start of the school year.

 APS noted on its website that officials need more time to provide professional development for teachers and school staff about remote learning, curricular resources and health guidelines.

>> Video above: How remote learning affects students with special needs.

For those reasons, APS announced that they will provide an additional week of professional development by delaying the first day of school for students by one week.

Click/tap here to read their plan

Students in grades 1-12 will begin on Aug. 18 and students in preschool and kindergarten will start on Aug. 24.

RELATED: 'The heat is going to be a bigger factor': DPS considers pushing back start of school

The district said they anticipated sending out additional communication in the next month about "further changes," but did not specify what those changes might be. 

Students who attend elementary, middle and P-8 schools will all have the opportunity to attend school in person for full days, every day through a cohort model, according to the APS website.

A cohort model means that a group of students stays with the same group of peers and staff members for the entire school day.

Students in high school will have the opportunity to attend school in person for half days, every day through a cohort model and block schedule. This means that high school students would engage in learning through a combination of in-person and remote learning. 

Currently, APS is anticipating that students in grades 9 and 10 would attend in person in the mornings and then learn remotely in the afternoons. Students in grades 11 and 12 would learn remotely in the mornings and then attend in person in the afternoons.

A full online option is also an option for students.

According to guidelines posted on its website, face masks, coverings, or face shields will be required for all staff while in school. Masks will also be required for all students in grades 6-12. 

Masks or face coverings will be required for students in grades preschool through fifth grade when social distancing cannot be maintained. APS said it made that decision after considering health guidance which indicated lower transmission and infection rates for younger children. It also noted children that age may "struggle with keeping masks on" or "fidget" with them throughout the day.

APS also said meals would likely be served in classrooms instead of the cafeteria.

Under public health guidance, APS said it's limited to the number of students that can be transported on a bus to and from school. 

Only one student will be allowed per seat and all bus riders will be required to wear masks. APS said the guidance will result in changes to who will be eligible for bus transportation during the school year and said they'll be sharing more detailed information about transportation in the coming weeks.

Earlier this week, Douglas County School said they would delay their start by one week. Earlier on Wednesday, Denver Public Schools said they were considering a similar delay but said they would not make a final decision until some time next week.

RELATED: DougCo School District delays first day of school to Aug. 17

Have a story idea related to schools this fall?  Email janet.oravetz@9news.com