New Year, New Patchwork Of Policies Across Colorado School Districts Send Some Kids Back To Classrooms

January 4, 2021
SCHOOL OPENS WELD COUNTY CENTENNIAL ELEMENTARYSCHOOL OPENS WELD COUNTY CENTENNIAL ELEMENTARYHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Co-teacher and coach Katie Dickinson takes students’ temperatures as in-person public school classes began on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, including at Centennial Elementary in Evans.

With Gov. Jared Polis announcing plans for COVID-19 restrictions to be relaxed in regions of the state where the virus has hit hardest, school districts are getting ready to send children back to classrooms.

As of Jan. 1, many of Colorado’s largest school districts are largely resuming in-person learning for younger grades, while moving older students toward a hybrid model — where some days remote, some days in-person. Several districts are also allowing families to keep their students fully remote through this semester if they choose.

In November, districts across the state had to send students home for remote instruction as COVID-19 cases surged and outbreaks in K-12 schools reportedly doubled. The changes created inconsistent policies that varied district by district, forcing teachers to quickly adapt their lesson plans. School officials have also been increasingly concerned about student and teacher mental health during the pandemic.

Before Thanksgiving, Polis created a statewide task force to help plan for eventual reopenings. “We know that for many kids and frankly also for many teachers, the classroom is one of the safest places,” Polis said at the time. “And we want to make sure that we can do all we can do in that controlled environment to really make sure that we don’t have an additional semester as chaotic as this one is.”

The gradual return to classrooms comes as the state moves teachers up the priority list to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Overall, only 94,297 Coloradans have been vaccinated so far out of 5.7 million people — or less than 2 percent of the state.

The virus is still far from gone in Colorado: As of Dec. 31, 2020, there were more than 18,500 people hospitalized for COVID-19.

Here is the plan for some of the largest school districts in Colorado. 

  • Denver Public Schools
    • Jan. 5 - 8: Remote learning continues for K-12
    • Jan. 11: Preschool to 5th grade returns to in-person
    • Jan. 19-29: Secondary students may be phased back into in-person
    • Feb. 1: In-person learning resumes for all students who opt-in
  • Jeffco Public Schools
    • Jan. 6: In-person learning continues for preschool and remote learning for K-12
    • Jan. 19: In-person learning begins for K-5, unless COVID conditions get worse
    • Feb. 1: Hybrid learning will be considered for 6-12
  • Douglas County School District
    • Jan. 5: In-person learning begins for preschool and elementary students. Remote learning continues for middle and high school students, though there’s possibility of moving to a hybrid model later in January.
  • Cherry Creek Schools
    • Jan. 6: Remote learning resumes for all students
    • Jan. 11: In-person learning begins for elementary students. Middle and high school levels will move to a hybrid model.
  • Aurora Public Schools
    • The district is considering a hybrid model and will make a decision by Jan. 4.
  • Adams 12 Five Star Schools
    • Jan. 7: Remote learning resumes for all students
    • Jan. 25: In-person and hybrid models begin for preschool through 12th grade
  • St. Vrain Valley Schools
    • Jan. 6: In-person learning begins for elementary students four days a week, with asynchronous learning on Fridays. Middle school and high school students resume remote learning.
    • Jan. 11: Middle school students move to a hybrid model
    • Jan. 19: High school students move to a hybrid model
  • Boulder Valley School District
    • Jan. 5: Hybrid learning begins for preschool students, with two days a week in the classroom. Elementary students begin four days a week in-person.
    • Jan. 12: Middle school students start a hybrid model, two days a week in-person
    • Jan. 19: High school students start a hybrid model, two days a week in-person
    • Feb. 2: In-person preschool instruction will increase from two to four days a week
  • Poudre School District
    • Jan. 5: Preschool students begin a hybrid model. K-12 students resume remote learning.
    • Jan. 19: Preschool moves to four days a week. K-5 students start in-person school.
    • Jan 18: Grades 6-8 move to a hybrid model
    • Jan. 25: High school students move to a hybrid model
  • Colorado Springs School District 11
    • Jan. 6: All students resume remote learning
    • Jan. 19: In-person learning begins for elementary students. Secondary students move to a hybrid model.
  • Academy School District 20
    • Jan. 6: Middle and high schools resume remote learning
    • Jan. 7: Preschool and elementary resumes remote learning
    • Jan. 11: In-person learning begins for preschoolers and elementary students. Aspen Valley Middle & High School and The Village High School begins in-person learning.
    • Jan. 19: Remainder of middle and high school students move to a hybrid model
  • Greeley-Evans School District 6
    • Jan. 6: All students resume remote learning
    • Jan. 11: K-2 begins in-person learning
    • Jan. 12: Preschool meets in-person again
    • Jan. 19: Preschool, elementary and middle school students will all be in-person by then. High schools move to a hybrid model.
  • Falcon School District No. 49
    • Jan. 7: All students resume remote learning
    • Jan. 19: In-person learning begins for preschool through 2nd grade students
    • Jan. 25: Grades 3-5 begin in-person learning. Middle and high school moves to a hybrid model.
  • Mesa County Valley School District 51
    • In-person learning resumes for all K-12 students after the holiday break

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