Frequently Asked Questions
Guidance from CDPHE about How to Handle COVID Cases at School
On Aug. 12, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released guidance for how to handle potential COVID cases and outbreaks at schools. Cherry Creek Schools will follow this guidance in the event that we have a confirmed COVID case among students or staff at a school.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Topics
Public Health Guidance from the Metro Denver Partnership for Health to safely reopen schools
What strategies are you utilizing to safely reopen schools?
In alignment with the above referenced guidance, we are using multiple overlapping strategies to safely reopen schools for students and staff. Due to differences in the nature of elementary, middle and high school, we utilized different primary strategies.
- Grouping or cohorting students to minimize spread. Students will be grouped at various levels.
- Levels of grouping are 1-class (throughout the day) and 2-grade level (lunch and recess)
- Wearing masks
- Additional strategies such as increased ventilation, cleaning, symptom screening
Middle and High School
- This plan was developed to primarily adhere to physical distancing requirements, and therefore the student body will be split in to two cohorts with half of students attending at a time.
- We received guidance from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) focused on physical distancing and cohorting students to the greatest extent possible. Students will also not have access to lockers to limit congregating during passing periods.
- To learn more about the Blended learning plan for grades 6-12, visit the Blended learning page.
When will school start?
School will start as previously planned on August 17, 2020.
The impact of the virus in Arapahoe County will determine whether students that signed up for “In-Person” will start the school year physically in schools or remotely at home. We will communicate this decision by August 6 after receiving he local health department updates. Students who choose “100% online” will start online regardless.
The decision to start remotely or in-person will be made by looking at data associated with community spread, trends in the number of new cases, and the impact on hospitals in the metro Denver area in August.
To learn more about the science-based metrics used by the district to determine how to safely return to school, visit this page.
Our greatest hope!
Our greatest hope is that at some point this year, conditions will have changed (e.g. widespread vaccination) to an extent where we could take a few weeks off from school and reschedule all students to full time in-person learning to finish the school year, returning to a sense of normalcy for students and staff.
What happens if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school?
In the case of a student or staff member with a confirmed case of COVID-19, the district will work with the Tri-County Health Department to determine appropriate action. Additional action could include:
- Extra disinfection and sanitization, and;
- Closures of classrooms, entire grade levels, individual schools or a complete district closure based on Tri-County guidance.
In the case of a prolonged closure (more than one week), the classroom, grade level or entire school may switch to remote learning. There may be times during the school year that conditions require all In-Person learning to switch to full remote learning.
Will parents be notified if there is a positive case in their child’s classroom?
Yes, parents will be notified if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in their child’s classroom/school. Parents will also receive information about next steps and actions based on guidance from the Tri-County Health Department.
What is the contingency plan if we close schools?
It is possible that classrooms, grade-levels, individual schools or the entire district will have to close for periods of time during the upcoming school year if there is a spike in COVID-19 infections or if we receive orders from Tri-County Health Department or the state. If there is a prolonged closure, all In-Person Learning will switch to full remote learning, which will include a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous learning. We have also selected two main learning platforms, Schoology and SeeSaw, so that all students, staff and family are prepared and feel comfortable using the platforms. Unlike last spring, attendance will be taken and student work will be graded if the district switches to remote learning during the year.
What is the plan for cleaning and disinfecting classrooms throughout the day?
Hard surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day and in the evening. Cleaning between groups will be a collaborative effort of students (if able), teachers, building staff and evening cleaning crews. Students will always be encouraged to, and given adequate time to, wash their hands with soap and water (and/or use hand sanitizer) frequently throughout the day.
Are we increasing ventilation or changing filters to protect students and staff from COVID?
Per the recommendation of the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), we will increase our filter density to MERV 13. This is a hospital-grade filter. While the MERV 13 filter is not dense enough to capture the COVID-19 Virus, it is nearly twice the density of filters currently used by the District. Because of the greater density, filters will become clogged faster; as a result, they will be changed at twice the frequency of the current filters used by the District.
The HVAC systems will also be run additional time to increase the number of times the air is exchanged over the course of a day. Running the system beyond the bell time allows air changes to occur without additional virus or other human generated contaminants being added to the air, in effect helping to clean the air. We will increase air exchanges by approximately 25%
Will students be required to wear masks?
Keep your teacher healthy - wear a mask!
We will require masks for all students and staff regardless of state mandates. Research and science show that wearing a mask is critical to slowing the spread of the virus, especially in indoor spaces. We will work with individual students to address any difficulties or medical issues with adhering to the following expectations.
Student masks will be managed by staff in a developmentally appropriate manner.
Students who make the conscious choice to not wear a mask will:
1) Receive information regarding the requirement
2) Receive an official warning
3) Be transferred to 100% online
Staff who make the conscious coice to not wear a mask will:
1) Receive information regarding the requirement
2) Receive an official warning
3) Be placed on unpaid leave
Will students be provided with masks?
Students are responsible for bringing their own mask. Disposable masks will be available at the school on a limited basis for students who arrive without one. Students who receive Free and Reduced Lunch will be provided with masks.
Will teachers be required to wear masks?
Teachers and all school staff will be required to wear face coverings (mask, shield, etc. to support teaching) during the day, in accordance with state and health department guidance for reopening schools. Staff will be provided PPE appropriate to their roles, and, in addition, staff will be asked to bring personal cloth masks.
How will we check for symptoms?
Families will be asked to take their child’s temperature and check for symptoms before sending their child(ren) to school. Staff members must take their own temperature and assess themselves for possible symptoms. The district will provide all students and staff access to a symptom checker app that will walk them through the symptom check process. If a student develops a fever throughout the day, they will be excluded from school in alignment with CDPHE guidance and parents will be asked to pick them up.
If all students are going back at once, will the classrooms be physically distanced?
The district is working closely with the Tri-County Health Department and the Colorado Department of Education to create plans for students to safely return in the fall. Classrooms will be physically distanced to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, the following health safety measures will be in effect:
- Current public health safety measures in place that limit spread of the virus will be implemented.
- Masks/face coverings
- Daily at-home symptom checks by students/families/staff (including temperature check)
- Frequent hand washing
- Monitoring physical distance especially when outside classrooms and when appropriate.
- Regular cleaning of student spaces practiced throughout the day.
- Classrooms will be cleared of non-essential furniture and items to maximize space for student seating arrangements and ease of cleaning/disinfection.
- School supplies and instructional materials will be assigned to individual students and kept separate from the other cohorts.
- Additional spaces such as gymnasiums will be utilized to create greater social distancing between students during lunch.
What health safety precautions will be required for students riding the bus? Will they have to wear a mask on the bus?
Based on the guidance from Tri-County students will be required to wear masks on the bus.
If I choose not to have my child ride the bus now, can I change my mind later during the school year?
No. Bus routes and bus drivers will be determined based on the number of students who are signed up to ride the bus at the start of the school year.
For elementary school in-person learning, why will students be grouped – or cohorted – by grade level for lunch and recess?
Based on current health department guidelines, as well as this guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, students will be cohorted to the greatest extent possible. During the day, students will be cohorted by individual classes and for lunch and recess, grade levels will be grouped together. Students will be given frequent breaks to wash hands before lunch and throughout the day.
If In-Person learning has to switch to Remote learning during the year, will the Remote learning be synchronous or asynchronous?
If In-Person learning at a school or the district must switch to full remote learning at any point during the year, the instruction will be a mixture of synchronous (students learning online together at the same time) and asynchronous. The schedule will be provided to parents prior to the start of the year so that they can prepare for the remote learning schedule as well.
If we go to Remote learning, what platforms will be used?
Schools will use Schoology or Seesaw as the common Learning Management System. In addition, the learning management system will be enhanced with the use of Google Suite tools. For more information on how to use the learning platforms, log into your myCherrycreek.org account and go to the parent resources tile.
If the district switches to Remote learning, would all kids go to online school or would kids receive instruction from their regular teachers?
If the district closes down for a period of time and switches to remote learning, students who chose full time In-Person learning will receive instruction from their same teachers. Students who chose full-time online school would remain in that program with no change.
How will my child’s IEP be handled this year? What if my child receives special education services?’
Students will continue to receive special education services in accordance with their IEP and their FAPE offering. Delivery options will look differently depending upon how instruction is provided to all students, whether it be In Person, Blended or Remote. Students who choose to do online learning will have a FAPE offering commensurate with the limitations of that platform. More information can be found by viewing this presentation on Special Populations.
What if my child received Gifted and Talented services?
GT Students K-5 will be cluster/grouped by ability and instructed by both GT and General Education teachers in a co-teaching/co-planning model. Affective programming will be addressed within these same cluster-grouped classrooms.
GT Students 6-12 will be clustered/grouped by academic content area strengths in a collaborative consult model between GT teachers or GT Counselors (high school) and General Education teachers. Affective goals will be met in GT clustered seminars/advisory courses, elective courses, and/or small groups dependent on student need.
GT Students who choose online learning will receive supports and services commensurate with the limitations of that platform.
More information can be found by viewing this presentation on Special Populations.
Will school be the same hours?
Yes, hours will be the same as usual.
How will lunch work? Do students get to eat in the cafeteria and do they get to socialize?
Students will be grouped (placed in cohorts) by grade level for lunch, recess and special services. They will be given opportunities to socialize. Masks will be required when students are not eating or drinking, and students will be physically distanced to the greatest extent possible. Additional spaces such as gymnasiums will be utilized to create greater social distancing between students during lunch. Students will be allowed to remove masks at times during recess.
Middle and High School
Students will be physically distanced to the greatest extent possible. High school students will be allowed to leave campus during lunch.
For Middle and High School students, what is the alpha split for Cohort A and Cohort B?
Students will be placed into a cohort by alpha split. Students with the last name A-K will attend Tuesday/Wednesday as part of Cohort A. Students with the last name L-Z will attend Thursday/Friday as part of Cohort B.
Will students change classes in middle school?
Yes. They will follow their normal 8-period schedule.
How will students who need to receive special services receive that support? i.e. special education, gifted and talented supports, or English language supports?
A range of instructional models will continue to be offered, from cluster/grouping to co-teaching to pull outs, with a focus on maintaining student cohorts and ensuring adherence to necessary safety measures. More information can be found by viewing this presentation on Special Populations.
Will In-Person classes be live-streamed?
No, In-Person classes will not be live-streamed. For In-Person Learning, students will receive instruction in school. If a classroom, grade level, or the entire school closes for a prolonged period of time due to COVID-19, teachers will switch to remote learning.
What is the plan for if the district switches from In-Person learning to full Remote learning due to a COVID-19 outbreak?
If Remote learning is activated, the instruction will be a mixture of synchronous (students learning online together at the same time) and asynchronous.
The plan allows the classroom teacher to directly engage with every student five days a week. Students receive direct instruction, individualized feedback, and a chance to connect as a community. Students also receive instruction from specialist teachers and receive the Social Emotional Learning curriculum with extensions and activities to complete asynchronously. This plan also allows for multiple students in a home with limited technology to have an opportunity to receive synchronous learning.
Learn more by visiting the Remote Learning webpage.
What does the schedule look like for Remote learning?
Students will receive instruction in up to four content areas a day with specials offerings that are staggered throughout the week.
Students will maintain an A day - B day schedule with core content and electives offered each day. Half will be on the A day and the other half on the B day.
Students will transition to an A day - B day schedule. They will receive instruction in four periods a day as opposed to the two-period day offered for In-Person Learning. Half of their classes will be on the A day and the other half on the B day.
Visit the Remote Learning webpage for more details and a sample schedule.
Will the district provide free meals if we switch to full Remote learning?
Food and Nutrition Services will provide breakfast and lunch at remote locations similar to the Spring of 2020.
K-5 Online Program
What will a typical day of learning look like for the K-5 online program? What is the synchronous schedule of teacher/student interaction for the K-5 online program?
All instruction will be delivered online by a certified teacher and will include a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Attendance will be taken every day. Students are accountable for their learning and will receive grades for their work. Daily schedules for online learning by grade level will be released by August 1.
What about specials, such as art, music and physical education?
There will be instruction for K-5 students in art, PE, music, and technology each week. Students will be responsible for approximately 1 hour of work per specials class each week.
How do I register for the K-5 online program?
Registration for the K-5 online program has closed.
What is the class size for K-5 online learning?
Approximately 35-50 students per teacher with assistance from a paraeducator for small group intervention at each grade level.
What does online learning for kindergarten look like?
Online students will be working towards the same grade level standards as the students In-Person schools. Online teachers will utilize technology to meet content mastery with students. As with the other grade levels, portions of the week’s instruction will be offered real time with the teacher while others will be asynchronous and may take support from an adult. Weekly schedules will be communicated to parents in August.
What will grading look like?
Similar to In-Person K-5 education, students will be given feedback on their progress towards meeting educational grade level standards. Students will receive the same progress report distributed at their home school elementary.
What curriculum will be used?
The K-5 online program has purchased and will use Florida Virtual School curriculum which aligns to K-5 Colorado Academic Standards.
Will families who sign up for the K-5 online program receive computers? What kind of computer is necessary to do the work?
Families who choose online learning should have reliable access to the internet as well as a current computing device. Digital inking capability on the device is preferred but not required. Access to technology will be provided for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
Elevation Online School – Middle and High School (grades 6-12)
Are AP and other advanced courses offered at Cherry Creek Elevation Online School?
We are working to increase the offerings at Elevation Online School. Prior to releasing a master schedule of courses, Elevation Online School will complete registration of anticipated students. The final master schedule for grades 6-12 will be released by August 1.
Can I change my mind during the school year and switch from In-Person learning to Online, or vice versa?
The decision to participate in Online or In-Person learning is for the entire 2020-2021 school year as we will need to reassign staff based on projected student enrollment.
Will charter school students give up their spot if they enroll in online for this year?
The charter schools are managed by their Board. The decisions to allow families to retain their spot and return will be determined by the individual school. If you are a current charter school attendee you should contact your school to see what they will offer should you choose to return.
Athletics and Activities
What will happen with athletics and activities this year?
No in-person clubs or activities, with the exception of before and after care programs. Some virtual opportunities will be provided.
No in-person clubs or activities. Some virtual opportunities will be provided. Middle school athletics including track and basketball will also be canceled. Students will not be able to stay after school and late buses will not be provided. We will reassess for middle school sports that occur later in the year.
We currently are following a phased re-opening of varsity sports and activities and await CHSAA guidelines to assess the viability of hosting sports in the fall.
- Grouping or cohorting students to minimize spread. Students will be grouped at various levels.