JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Students in the Jefferson County School District will start the second semester in remote learning before beginning to return to in-person learning in late January and February, according to a plan from the district.
The district said most students would begin the semester in remote learning due to concern about a potential surge in COVID-19 cases following the winter break.
>> Video above: State plan to return to in-person learning.
"Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) has advised us to provide for a 14-day incubation period prior to opening our schools for in-person instruction to avoid virus spread which could lead to immediate quarantines," the plan says. "Therefore, we will begin the semester in remote learning on our current weekly schedule, and then implement a staggered reopening plan to ensure the sustainability of in-person instruction and avoid interruption due to virus spread or major quarantines."
Preschool children, students with severe disabilities, and students in some CTE programs will continue in-person learning.
Elementary-aged students are expected to return to in-person learning on Jan. 19, according to JeffCo.
Students in grades 6-12 will eventually move into hybrid learning. While an exact date for that transition was not decided, JeffCo said it would not be any earlier than Feb. 1.
Before older students come back into schools, the district said the following criteria would need to be met:
- K-5 schools are operationally stable.
- Jefferson County demonstrates a plateau in case incident rates followed by a decline.
- Schools will use Targeted Contact Identification (TCI) Criteria, seating charts, six feet of social distancing and require masks as mitigation strategies.
The district said this is because "the virus impacts older students disproportionately due to higher transmission and contraction rates."
Once students return to in-person or hybrid classes, JeffCo said they do not plan to move the entire district back to remote learning.
"Once we are back to in-person learning, our plan is to maintain this model for the rest of the school year, unless the COVID-19 dial goes to Level Purple," the plan reads. "Going forward, we will temporarily change learning models on a school-by-school basis from in-person to remote or quarantine groups as needed to control the spread of COVID-19."
A remote learning option will continue to be available to families who chose it, JeffCo said.
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