DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. – The Douglas County School District is pushing back its first day of school due to community concerns over what returning to the classroom looks like as coronavirus cases continue to increase across Colorado.
The first day of class will now be Monday, August 17. Originally, classes were scheduled to begin on August 10.
“We understand that the idea of returning students and staff to the classroom comes with great anxiety,” district officials wrote in a letter to parents obtained by Denver7 Tuesday evening. “This delay will afford all DCSD staff the opportunity to train and prepare for a safe and healthy in-person learning environment.”
The letter also states the delayed start will give the district more feedback from the community and provide families and district staff with specific details and answers that “they need to feel comfortable returning to our classrooms.”
District officials said they are moving forward with opening all K-12 schools for full-time, in-person learning five days a week on Aug. 17, but added an eLearning option would also be offered at each of their schools as an alternative option for parents who do not feel safe bringing their children to the classroom.
For Kindergarten students, a full day of school will not begin until Friday, August 21, officials said. Kindergarten students will instead be assigned a half-day so they can transition into a full day environment with a small group of six to eight students starting Aug. 17 through Aug. 19.
They’re also asking parents to complete this short form outlining their plans for the 2020-21 school year, as well as each parents’ needs for school bus transportation.
Additionally, they’re asking parents to complete one form for each student who will attend a DougCo. School during the 2020-21 school year no later than Wednesday, July 22.
If your child attended a charter school in 2019-2020, the district said you do not have to fill out that form. But, if your child attended a DCSD neighborhood school in 2019-2020, and is transferring to a DCSD charter school, or a non-DCSD school for 2020-2021, you’re asked to complete the form to help the district plan for staffing at your child’s prior school.
“Our return to in-person learning may not be perfect, and I know there are many questions that still need answers,” said Superintendent Thomas S. Tucker. “But I know that together, we can do this and help our students and staff through this next chapter of this pandemic.”