CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — The Douglas County School District (DCSD) Board of Education recommended students and staff return to school this fall in a hybrid model involving in-person and remote learning during a meeting Saturday.
Board directors and district leadership met at DCSD headquarters in Castle Rock, but public attendance wasn't allowed due to social distancing guidelines.
DCSD decided on July 13 to delay the first day of school for the 2020-21 school year by one week. The first day of school will be Monday, Aug. 17.
The Board of Education is still considering the details of the hybrid model. The schedule groups K-12 students into cohorts to mitigate the introduction and spread of the virus. DCSD said the cohorts will "rotate between two days of in-person learning and three days of eLearning from home each week."
Starting on Aug. 17, students will return to school for an orientation week. Only 20% of students will attend each school day. Families can opt for a 100% eLearning option if they prefer.
The district said they've been working with the newly created DCSD Restart & Recovery Task Force to come up with a plan to welcome students back in a way that is “as close to normal as possible,” while taking necessary precautionary measures to keep students safe.
During a meeting on July 13, the board decided not to vote on the final plan, saying they needed more reassurance and information from Superintendent Thomas Tucker so that people would be comfortable going back in person.
Right now the plans include:
- A mask requirement for middle school students and higher, as well as all staff members. It recommends masks for kids in elementary schools.
- Contingency plans in case state or health guidelines don't allow for schools to open for in-person learning.
- Staff and students would be required to complete a daily symptom check, preferably at home before arriving at work or school.
- 6 feet of social distancing between all individuals would be encouraged at all times.
- The e-learning will include “live” video instruction, grading and attendance.
- In a situation where students at a school would need to transition to e-learning due to an outbreak of the virus, teachers would be prepared with tools and training to ensure a seamless transition, according to the plan.
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Douglas County is also asking families to complete a survey about whether they prefer in-person or e-learning and whether they will need transportation "to assist us in planning and staffing for the upcoming school year."
Teachers in Douglas County said they want to be heard, so they made their demands clear during a loud rally outside DCSD headquarters on July 22.
The Douglas County Federation, which represents DCSD teachers, said they want clearer information for what the school year might look like in the fall.
Teachers said they're asking for masks for all students, 6 feet of distance for everyone, virtual staff meetings, protocols for what happens during an outbreak and testing for teachers and staff.
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