DENVER — Denver students in grades third through fifth will be shifting to remote learning beginning next week due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city, according to a letter to parents Tuesday from Denver Public Schools Superintend Susana Cordova.
Students in those grades will continue to in-person learning until Friday. They will shift to remote learning beginning Monday.
DPS students from early childhood education (ECE) through second grade will continue to attend full-time, in-person learning, which is crucial for students in these grades and the “COVID risks for students in the early-elementary grades are also very low,” the letter states.
Cordova said grades 6-12 will remain in remote learning through the end of the semester in December, because “health conditions are unlikely to improve enough” by the end of the year for students to return to the classroom.
DPS’s decision to move grades 3-5 to remote learning comes after Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced that the City of Denver has now moved to Safer at Home Level 3 based on the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told Denver that its positivity rate over 7%, that the city saw 2,800 new cases over a two-week period, and a case rate of 385 per 100,000 people were reasons for the new restrictions.
"I am heartbroken that we are here. I believe that our efforts to gradually reopen our school buildings and educate and care for our children has been the right thing to do, and at the same time, it is clear that we need to balance this with the needs of our community to drive the COVID rates down. There is real fear, anxiety and concern on all sides, regardless of where you stand on this issue– parents and students who desperately want their children to be in school, teachers and leaders who are concerned about their health and safety. There is no easy answer, but I want you to know that this balance–serving the students who pose the least risk and need in-person learning the most– while providing high-quality remote services to all others, is the balance that will serve us best in this difficult time," Cordova wrote.