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Hybrid of in-person and remote learning likely in Denver schools this fall

Saralyn Voltz bleaches toys in her preschool classroom at Carson Elementary on March 13, the last day school buildings were open in Denver.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Denver’s public schools “will likely offer a mix of in-person and remote learning” when school resumes in the fall, Superintendent Susana Cordova said Thursday in a newsletter to families.

“Until health officials give clearance for a return to normal school operations, we will need to adhere to social-distancing guidelines,” Cordova wrote. “We will also likely need to make schedule adjustments periodically during the school year.”

Denver Public Schools officials are still working out exactly what that will look like, Cordova said. The district plans to begin gathering feedback from families next week via a survey.

“The best plan we can put together for reopening schools is one that prioritizes health and wellness and is responsive to the needs of our students and families,” Cordova wrote.

Gov. Jared Polis in late April told superintendents to prepare for the possibility of hybrid learning models and the need for social distancing within schools, even as he loosened stay-at-home requirements.

Denver schools closed to in-person learning in mid-March, and classes shifted online to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. School buildings will remain shuttered for the rest of the school year. High school graduations will be virtual, and summer school will be remote.

The first day of the next school year in Denver is set for Monday, August 17. Cordova said health experts have advised the district not to delay the start of school. She noted that the warmer weather will reduce the likelihood of a spike in COVID-19 cases. It’s not yet clear whether that will be the case, as scientists are still researching and waiting.

“We are so looking forward to having students back in our buildings in a few months, although still with some adjustments,” Cordova wrote.

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