Battle Rock Charter School hopes to use a conference room in the Montelores Community Parish as a backup space for students in case the COVID-19 pandemic forces stricter social-distancing guidelines for schools.
The Cortez Planning and Zoning Commission planned to discuss the conditional use permit at its meeting at 6:30 pm on Tuesday via Zoom.
Like many schools across Colorado, Battle Rock has several options in case full in-person classes can’t continue during the 2020-21 school year. The “hybrid” optin would split Battle Rock’s 70-student body into two groups.
Group 1 would attend the main campus in Cortez on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Group 2 would go to the main campus on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Fridays would be used for tutoring or field trips.
When one group is not on the main campus, the conference room at the Montelores Community Parish could be an alternative site for in-person learning.
Battle Rock “might only end up using it for kids choosing to go entirely online,” said Cortez City Planner Tracie Hughes. “They are thinking ahead for extra space,” she said, since students need to follow social-distancing guidelines at the school.
The conference room offers students computers and access to Wi-Fi, Hughes said.
The Colorado Department of Education has released guidelines for schools, but they depend on the trend of COVID-19 cases in the state.
“Everything is up in the air,” Hughes said, and Battle Rock is “thinking ahead for alternative options.”
Battle Rock administrators approached the Montelores Community Parish about leasing the conference room, which was formerly the Southwest Memorial Hospital Annex, according to the parish’s application for a conditional use permit from the city of Cortez.
The room is 1,236 square feet and has two bathrooms and a kitchen. About 35 students and up to five teachers would use the space at one time.
Parents would drop off and pick up their students on the South Market and East First Street intersection, where there are three marked parking spaces. Teachers would accompany students from their cars to the conference room in the church, with staggered arrival and departure times to avoid congested traffic.
Parents also could park in the parish lot on the southeast corner of Market and First streets, next to Top Line Floors, and walk their children into the building.
The Public Works Department of Cortez offered to incorporate additional safety measures such as signs and road markings at the crosswalks to ensure student safety. Teachers would take students to Montezuma Park for recess.
Battle Rock is a school for K-6th grade, so additional parking for students is not needed.
Gov. Jared Polis announced on Tuesday that COVID-19 cases in Colorado have plateaued, but he said it was too soon to determine whether they have started to decrease.
“We’re doing better as a state,” Polis said, “but we need to be cautious.”
The application states that Battle Rock will not make a final decision about using the conference room until further restrictions are issued by the Colorado Department of Education that prevent the full student body of 70 to be on campus at the same time.