Update about In-Person Learning for PreK-12
June 30, 2020
Dear Cherry Creek Schools families,
With new information and guidance regarding COVID-19 coming out, I want to share our updated plan for the restart of school in August. We are excited to offer in-person learning five days a week for students PreK-12 in addition to an online learning option for any families who do not want to send their child to school for health or any other reasons. The first day of school will be Aug. 17.
Due to the uncertainty of what conditions will look like at the end of the summer, we will continue to prepare a range of learning options so that we can be ready for a successful start to the school year no matter what.
As always, our goal is to return to in-person learning for all students to the greatest extent possible, while taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of students and staff. This week, a coalition of all of the metro area local health agencies released updated guidance for the reopening of schools in the fall. Guidance shifted from a strict focus on 6 feet of separation to a series of new recommendations that focus on cohorting student groups, significantly reducing student cross-over (passing periods, lockers, etc.), and wearing masks to the greatest extent possible.
“Colorado children need to get back to school, and we are pleased to provide evidence-informed guidance to our regions’ school superintendents to support their efforts in reopening school safely,” the report from the Metro Denver Partnership for Health states. “With almost 9 million cases of COVID-19 in the worldwide pandemic thus far, several issues relevant to school re-opening are beginning to emerge. First, children appear to have lower rates of infection than do older persons and, when infection does occur, are much less likely to have serious complications than adults. Second, while children (including those not showing symptoms) can transmit COVID-19, emerging evidence indicates that children are not primary drivers of transmission and that school reopening is likely to have minimal impact on transmission between students or between students and staff.”
Based on this guidance, we are expanding our full in-person learning option to all grades. More information about our plan for in-person learning five days a week for all grades can be found on our Planning Forward 2020-21 website. I encourage you to read about these options before signing on to Parent Forms to complete registration, which opened this week.
We will continue to work with public health experts and our CCSD Planning Forward Task Force – made up of educators, parents and district leaders – to design detailed plans that prioritize learning and the health and safety of our 55,000 students and 9,000 employees.
One thing is certain next year: school will look different, and it will be great.
There will be health screenings of all students and staff before or as they arrive at school, and masks will be required inside the school to the greatest extent possible. Class schedules will be adjusted to keep groups of students together and limit student movement throughout the day. There will be no assemblies or large gatherings. Students will not use communal supplies. Schools will have supplies of hand sanitizer and soap to allow for frequent hand-washing, and classrooms, buses and school facilities will be disinfected regularly.
I want to emphasize the importance of these health measures. If we follow these protocols and adults and students wear masks, we will have a greater chance of maintaining health and avoiding prolonged closure of schools due to infection. Look for videos on our social media platforms in the coming weeks that will show examples of what next school year will look like and give tips for helping children smoothly transition back to school.
I also want to take a moment to thank our amazing teachers, administrators, school staff and parents who have spent countless hours responding to this pandemic and preparing for a new school year that honors our equity goals and gives all students a chance to learn and grow and thrive. I continue to be inspired everyday by the fortitude, acts of kindness, resilience and determination that our community demonstrates.
We are all in this together and we will rise above this challenge. Have a safe and joyful summer.
Scott A. Siegfried, Ph.D.