Amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, local school districts are planning for a variety of scenarios for fall classes.
Scenarios include reopening school facilities with heavy safety precautions and more limited reopenings.
“At this time, based on a meeting with the Governor, we believe we will be able to welcome our students and teachers back to school safely in the Fall, but we are still working on the plans to do that safely,” Lori Haukeness, superintendent of the Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1, wrote in a letter to families.
Districts also are preparing for the possibility that families opt to stick with online learning.
Safety measures might include daily health screenings for staff and students, improved cleaning and hygiene practices, and downsized student learning groups. Administrators also are working on contingency plans in the case of a significant COVID-19 outbreak, that “would likely include a blend of in-person and online learning or short periods of school closure supported by online learning,” Haukeness wrote.
For families that wish to keep their students at home, the district will offer a fully online schooling opportunity.
“This will be different than the spring temporary online learning and will be a full-year enrollment option,” Haukeness wrote.
The Re-1 Board of Education will hold a work session June 16 to discuss back-to-school plans and the budget, which faces state budget cuts. The district also plans to hold several online town halls for public discussion.
Meetings and town halls will be posted online on the district website and Facebook page.
Other local districts are preparing for an unpredictable fall. Mancos administrators and teachers have been preparing for the various scenarios, coming up with plans that involve smaller classes, limited student mobility and improving the distance learning model of spring.
At a virtual board meeting May 28, PK-12 Principal Cathy Epps said that if distance learning resumed, some changes would need to be made, like considering the time frame for students to complete their schoolwork and figuring out how to best accommodate families with students in multiple grade levels — working simultaneously at home can be difficult both because of device and internet capacity limitations.
“I think it’s actually a blessing this happened the fourth quarter and not first, second or third quarter,” Epps said, adding that while she hopes they don’t have to resume distance learning in the fall, “we got our feet wet if we have to do it again.”
Dolores School District Re-4A has formed an advisory group of parents, staff, administration and school board members to draft reentry plans for August. At a meeting June 11, Re-4A Superintendent Lis Richard told the school board that the draft plans are under review right now, and the advisory group hopes to post plans on the district website by July 1.
“We’ll have a near-normal plan, and then we’ll have a contingency plan,” Richard said.
The Dolores near-normal plan will include similar features to its neighboring districts, including screening students and staff as they enter school, limiting recess to specific grade levels, and following the governor’s orders in terms of class size.