COLORADO, USA — All schools in Colorado are closed through at least April 30 as part of an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 which has been rapidly spreading since the first case was reported in Colorado on March 5.
With that extended closure, many districts put remote learning plans into place.
"We've been preparing for the past three weeks," said Justin McMillan principal of Casey Middle School in Boulder. "We've been having virtual meetings with my leadership team three-to-four times a day."
Monday, the entire Boulder Valley School District launched its remote learning plan.
"Right now, we want students to know that we are there for them and they're safe and healthy," McMillan said. "Every day from [2 p.m. to 4 p.m.], our teachers are going to be having live virtual sessions and seeing the kids' faces."
Teachers are creating customized learning content and “playlists” for students through the EMPOWER content management system. EMPOWER has been used in the district for many years to keep teachers, students and parents connected.
At McMillan's school in Boulder, he said he worries about students who don't have enough money for internet service at home. Nearly half of his students qualify for free and/or reduced lunch from the federal government.
"I'm always worried about the gap getting bigger and just that equity piece and these kinds of things. It gets magnified," McMillan said.
He also said he worries about meeting the needs of students with special needs. He says his special education teachers are working closely with families to find solutions.
"It's how do you meet the needs of students in a virtual setting to where you can walk them through sometimes step-by-step and how to attack some of these math problems," McMillan said. "It's a challenge there's no doubt about it."
But, he said he believes that at his school and at schools across Colorado, teachers will do the best they can to make sure students continue to learn.
"We're a team of educators figuring this out together to make sure kids thrive as best we can in this setting," McMillan said.
Below is a list of district plans.
Aurora Public School District
Schools within the district will begin remote learning on March 31. Most of the interaction between teachers and students will happen online through Google Classroom.
Families who need to check out a laptop can do so at all school sites on March 25, 26 and 27.
They developed a specific website that provides all of the information for remote learning. You can find it here.
The APS Help Desk is open to all families and staff for technical support on weekdays starting on Monday, March 30. If you need assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Boulder Valley School District
The school district will transition to remote learning on Monday, March 30.
As part of the plan, families will be provided with a menu of home learning activities (hard copies are available for those who need them) and are asked to complete four activities a day with their child.
Children will be given an opportunity each week for a whole class video or phone conference either by a telephone conference, Google Hangout or Schoology Conference.
Teachers will monitor students' ability to participate, but students won't be penalized if they're unable to take part.
Cherry Creek School District
The Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) will begin remote learning for all students on Monday, March 30.
"Our goal is to ensure that lessons are reasonable and meaningful so that students can remain engaged and learning can continue during this time," the district said.
As part of their planning, CCSD said they were considering ways to ensure that all students have access to technology and internet service in their homes.
- The first lesson of the week from each course or content area will be emailed/posted to students/parents by 2 p.m. on Monday of each week.
- Students will be allowed to submit assignments for review through a variety of formats.(Schoology, Google Classroom, PDF and JPG, emailed attachments, pictures of their handwritten work, etc.)
Denver Public School District
The state's largest school district is set to begin remote learning on April 7.
Families had until noon on March 24 to complete a technology survey so that Denver Public School District (DPS) officials could determine what resources students have available in their homes.
They started distributing laptops and other technology to students beginning on March 25. The district noted that the "stay-at-home" order for Denver does allow for families to go to schools to pick up those items.
DPS said it was still working to finalize its remote learning plan.
Douglas County School District
Remote learning for students in Douglas County began the week of March 23. As part of the program, teachers will be in touch with students each day to provide assignments. Students can complete them at a time that is convenient and are not expected to be online for a full school day.
Jefferson County Public Schools
Jeffco Public Schools initiated its remote learning and work plan on March 16 and will continue with it through at least April 30.
The district had a one-week hiatus for the district’s spring break scheduled for March 23 - 27.
Westminster Public School District
The district began offering extended learning programs during the week of March 16 and distributed 5,000 Chromebooks to students to ensure that students are able to learn while schools are closed. They're also working with families to make sure they have internet access.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: COVID-19 Coronavirus