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We might not know if schools can open to in-person learning until August, CDE says

The Colorado Department of Education on Tuesday provided districts around the state with guidance around how to safely reopen.

COLORADO, USA — Whether schools in Colorado will open in the fall for in-person learning is still undecided, but the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) on Tuesday provided districts around the state with guidance around how to safely reopen.

The guidance is what the CDE calls a toolkit and includes requirements and considerations for school districts to use while planning for the fall. The document is broken up into guidance for a number of different approaches including remote learning, in-person learning, physically distanced learning, rolling starts and stops, and a blend of in-person and remote learning. Each of these sections has a subsection with considerations for schools to take into account.

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Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes and Associate Commissioner Rhonda Haniford stressed the fact that these guidelines were a work in progress and subject to change. Since these decisions are contingent on guidance from the state health department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Gov. Jared Polis, many of the decisions around how and when, or if, schools can reopen for in-person learning structures will be unknown until possibly August, Anthes said.

One option in the guidelines is staggered schedules, which, as Anthes explained, could look a number of different ways. Students could be separated into A and B groups, where one group learns in-person one week, then online from home the next. Or groups A and B could flip schedules every other day during the week. Or schools could prioritize in-person learning for certain groups of students based on their learning ability – in-person versus an online platform.

The CDE recognized parents are stressed and concerned over not knowing what learning will look like in the fall and that many need to return to a traditional work schedule while their kids are at school.

But Anthes said the top priority is the health and safety of students and staff. 

The CDE added they are doing what they can to reach students who fell behind or didn't log in at all the last few months of school after all schools in Colorado were forced into distanced learning to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

The CDE said some funding is available to help schools reopen. 

>> Learn more about CDE’s guidance and provide feedback here.

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