ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — Adams 12 Five Star Schools will move to full remote learning on Nov. 16, the district's superintendent announced Monday.
"We've seen COVID incidence rates increase by nearly 900% from their level in mid-September," said Superintendent Chris Gdowski. "We've now had more than 200 staff and students who have tested positive for COVID, resulting in quarantines of more than 3,300 students and 600 staff members."
Gdowski said the past 10 days have been "particularly difficult."
"During that time we've had frequent, large-scale quarantines throughout many of our school sites that remain open for in-person learning," he said. "We've had to transition seven elementary schools to two-week remote schedules with little notice due to quarantines that removed 30% or more of their staff members from the building. Four of those schools transitioned abruptly to remote learning from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening alone."
Gdowski said that these realities, combined with the rise in cases in the county and across the state, led to the district's decision.
"Simply put, we've now reached the point at which the benefits of in-person learning for our youngest students are outweighed by the disruption caused by abrupt transitions to quarantines and by the risk of COVID exposures within our schools," he said.
Adams 12 will take the following steps to implement its remote learning plan:
- All preschools, elementary schools and in-person classes at Bollman and Washington Square will conclude their in-person services for the fall semester at the close of the school day on Friday, Nov. 13.
- Friday, Nov. 13 will also be the last day of operation for the BASE program in elementary schools through winter break.
- On Monday, Nov. 16, all of the students who are transitioning from in-person learning to remote learning will have an online class meeting or check in with their instructor to receive direction for asynchronous learning assignments for that day and to prepare for synchronous (live, teacher-led) learning beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 17. Elementary schools will communicate details about their synchronous learning schedule, which will include a common lunch period for all grade levels, later this week. Building principals are taking time to share this news with in-person learners today.
- Preschool families will receive details about their remote learning model later this week.
- Elementary schools that have already transitioned to remote learning (Silver Creek, Stellar, Rocky Mountain, Malley, Mountain View and Westview) will send their families additional information regarding next week’s schedule prior to the end of the day Friday. This communication may also include any plans to have some brief contact between students/staff either prior to, or promptly after, the Thanksgiving break. These opportunities would be designed to maintain staff/student bonds and to allow students to pick up needed items.
- If other elementary schools are significantly impacted by positive COVID cases and quarantines between now and this Friday, influencing our ability to safely and effectively operate a school, we will consider the need to transition those schools earlier.
- Instruction following the Thanksgiving Break will continue remotely through the conclusion of the fall semester for students on Dec. 17.
- All support for students with special needs, advanced academic needs, and for English learners will transition to remote learning.
- Current middle and high school in-person support for these students will be re-evaluated Thanksgiving week and communication to families will be shared prior to Thanksgiving day about the possibility of restarting these limited in-person opportunities the week of Nov. 30.
- Elementary in-person support for these students is currently under review and communication to families about the possibility of providing limited in-person opportunities will begin the week of November 30.
- I will be updating the Board of Education at their Nov. 18 meeting regarding second semester schooling models. Given surges that have occurred following holidays earlier this year, it is possible that we will start second semester with remote instruction at all levels in order to avoid frequent, large scale quarantines. We will also be considering revised procedures at the elementary level and a new learning delivery model at the secondary level to maintain consistent learning environments.
- Families will be asked for in person vs. remote schooling preferences for second semester following the Nov. 18 Board of Education meeting. We'll need families to make final choices by the conclusion of the Thanksgiving Break so we can work through the logistics of schedule changes and staff assignments.
Adams 12 serves more than 39,000 students in Adams County, which moved to Safer at Home Level Orange effective Oct. 28 due to COVID-19 incidence rates that were nearly double what they needed to be to stay in the less restrictive level.
The district follows the path of several others that have shifted to remote learning in recent weeks.
Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) announced last week that all students will return to remote learning. CCSD pre-school and elementary students will have their last day of in-person learning on Wednesday, Nov. 11. Remote learning for those students will begin Monday, Nov. 16. Middle and high school students currently enrolled in in-person learning finished out the week in classrooms. Teachers will have Monday and Tuesday of next week to prepare before remote learning begins on Wednesday, Nov. 11.
Denver Public Schools (DPS) in late October announced it would scale back plans to return to in-person learning amid the rise in cases there.
And Aurora Public Schools (APS) also announced in late October that most students would return to remote learning.
The University of Colorado-Boulder also shifted to remote learning for the rest of the semester, beginning Monday, Nov. 16.
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