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Colorado education officials want to open schools based on science, not politics

President Trump said his administration hopes most schools are going to open in the fall, and they plan to put pressure on state and local leaders.

DENVER — The Denver Public Schools District (DPS), the Colorado Department of Education, and the Governor’s office all share President Donald Trump’s goal for opening schools in the fall, but that will change if COVID-19 numbers in Colorado rise or new research suggests schools need to close.

All three entities spoke with 9NEWS on Tuesday after President Trump said that his administration hopes most schools are going to open in the fall and they plan to put pressure on state and local leaders to make it happen.

RELATED: President Trump vows to pressure governors to reopen schools this fall

"So, we're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open," Trump said during a White House event on Safely Reopening America's Schools. "And it's very important, very important for our country, very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we're going to be putting a lot of pressure on open your schools in the fall."

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) has been working on guidelines to help superintendents and district officials come up with safety plans for the fall.

“I think we share the goal of opening schools,” Colorado’s Commissioner of Education Katy Anthes said, adding that reopening will happen in Colorado because local public health officials believe in-person learning at schools is safe, so long as there are precautions.

"We’ve been looking at health guidance, we’ve been looking at other states and districts, we have an advisory committee that advises us on feasibility of how these protocols can actually be implemented in a school setting," Anthes said.

We still have local decision making here and the schools are largely run by the local school boards and local superintendents. The governor obviously does have an important part to play with the health guidance, and if there are any statewide public health orders we would all need to follow that.”

RELATED: Masks required as part of DPS in-person learning this fall

A spokesperson for Colorado Governor Jared Polis shared this statement with 9NEWS.

“The Governor shares the goal of schools being open in the fall, and that we all must work together to achieve this goal. Getting kids back to school means that we need to do a good job over the summer of containing the virus. That means hard work from all Coloradans -- the state, our health care system, and individual people observing social distance and wearing masks. It will take all of us to continue to suppress the virus.”

DPS has already come up with a plan to reopen in-person learning in the fall with the option for students to learn from home. They are still coming up with details about online learning and they are asking for input from DPS families and teachers.

“We’re not going to listen to what the President says,” Superintendent of Operations with DPS Mark Ferrandino told 9NEWS. “We’re going to listen to our local health officials who have knowledge about what’s [happening] on the ground, and are working through the science to help give us the guidance to help us open up school in a safe way for both our students are our staff.”

He had an extensive conversation with 9news reporter Liz Kotalik about reopening plans. You can watch it all below.

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