Cherry Creek Schools will open its doors for in-person learning on Aug. 17 in what the district has called a phase-in approach.
District Superintendent Scott Siegfried said in a statement that the decision to have students physically in school was made based on data in Arapahoe County that looks at the test positivity rate, hospitalizations, a 14-day incident rate and daily case numbers.
"If we see a sustained change in the wrong direction and it becomes unsafe to maintain in-person learning, I will not hesitate to make the call to switch to full remote learning," Siegfried said. "I urge you to think through this possibility and to consider child care and supervision needs in case the data determines a change is necessary."
During the first week of school, preschool through 5th-grade students will return by grade level for a limited amount of time to get used to new routines and precautionary measures. Fifth-graders may return on Monday, with 4th-graders on Tuesday and so forth, for example. Parents should look for an exact schedule from their child's school.
After the first week, elementary students will attend school in-person five days a week — in cohorts, sticking with the same group of students for the whole day including lunch, recess and special services.
Sixth through 12th-graders will also attend school in phases for the first week. After that, they'll move to what the district is calling "blended in-person learning," where they'll learn both in-person and remotely.
Students will be split into two cohorts based on their last names. Letters A through K will attend Tuesday and Wednesday in cohort A. Letters L to Z will attend Thursday and Friday in cohort B. Students will learn remotely the other days of the week. On Mondays, students will work remotely, can check in with their teachers and teachers will also use the day for planning.
All students are required to wear a face covering. They won't have access to lockers. Athletics have been cancelled for middle schoolers and will be part of a separate cohort for high schoolers. School supplies will be assigned to individual students. Kids will not go on field trips but teachers are encouraged to take advantage of holding classes outside.
The district also has an option for students to attend school entirely online. The curriculum includes a mix of recorded and live classes.
"As we prepare to open, I am asking for all members of the Cherry Creek Schools community to do our part to help ensure that students can be in school," Siegfried said. "Please help your students avoid meeting with large groups of friends, maintain appropriate social distancing and have them wear a mask in accordance with the state mandate."