While many of Colorado’s 900,000 K-12 students have gone to school without incident since late August, thousands of teachers and students have had to enter quarantine and switch to remote learning on short notice.
Colorado’s quarantine guidance, meant to limit the spread of coronavirus in school settings, requires that close contacts of people who test positive quarantine for two weeks. In many settings, that can mean an entire classroom. Schools that don’t have clear cohorts — groups of students and adults who interact only with each other — have had to quarantine large numbers of students. Some school districts have experienced “operational closures” when too many staff were out to safely run the school.
Gov. Jared Polis credits the quarantine guidance with keeping Colorado schools relatively safe. Since late August, there have been 43 outbreaks — situations where public health officials have identified transmission in a school setting — out of more than 1,900 schools in Colorado.
“We’ve seen great success around the health guidelines around our public schools,” he said. “What we mean by success at school is that outbreaks have been contained early. While it’s difficult and many parents find it annoying to go online for 14 days and not have the in-classroom component, that has worked. Where we see cases it’s three, it’s five, it’s eight.”
“If we operated a high school like we did in January, it would rapidly go from one to 36 to 152 to 200, just overnight. That has been prevented by these safety protocols.”
We want to hear from the parents, students, teachers and administrators who have experienced quarantine and the abrupt switch to online learning so that we can better tell the story of education during the pandemic. How did you get the news? Was it stressful or did things go pretty smoothly? How did it affect your life? What do you wish was different?
Please take our survey and let us know if we can follow up with you.