AURORA, Colo. – Aurora Public Schools on Wednesday joined a growing list of school districts across the Denver metro in delaying the first day of school for student by one week.
“As we begin the new school year, we will need additional time to provide professional development for teachers and school staff about remote learning, curricular resources, health guidelines and more,” reads a letter sent to parents and staff from APS Superintendent Rico Munn, informing parents about the district’s decision to push back the beginning of the 2020-21 school year by a week.
The first day of school for most students, those in grades 1-12, will be Tuesday, Aug. 18. Students in Kindergarten and preschool will follow six days later, starting school on Monday, Aug. 24. Classes were originally scheduled to begin on Aug. 11
Students in elementary, middle and P-8 schools will all have the opportunity to attend school in person for full days every day through what the district is calling “a cohort model,” meaning that a group of students will stay with the same group of classmates and teachers for the entire school day.
High school students will have the opportunity to attend school in person for half days every day through a cohort model and block schedule, meaning they would learn what they need to through a combination of in-person and remote learning, the district said in the letter.
Additionally, Munn said APS is anticipating that students in high school freshmen and sophomores would show up to school in person in the mornings and then learn remotely in the afternoon, while juniors and seniors would learn remotely in the morning and in person during the afternoon.
Munn also said the district would provide a fully remote learning option for families that “temporarily choose” to keep their children home out of concern for their child’s health during the coronavirus pandemic in Colorado.
What school might look like for APS students, staff when kids return
In the letter to parents, the district said face masks, coverings or face shields will be required for all staff while in school. Masks will also be required for all students in grades 6-12. For students in preschool through fifth grade, masks or face coverings will be required when social distancing cannot be maintained.
Meals will also likely be served in classrooms rather than having students in a cafeteria, Munn said, and the district will have increased signage throughout our schools about social distancing and frequent handwashing.
Regular deep cleaning of buildings and the monitoring of symptoms related to COVID-19 will also take place “in order to isolate anybody” who may be showing signs of infection, and the district is finalizing discussions with a local nonprofit that would allow APS to. Cover the costs associated with testing staff in a regular fashion for the novel coronavirus.
Transportation will also be affected with only one student allowed per seat. All bus riders will be required to wear masks.
“This guidance will result in changes to who will be eligible for bus transportation during the upcoming school year,” Munn said, adding they would be sharing more detailed information about transportation in the coming weeks.
Aurora follows Denver Public Schools, other districts that pushed start dates back
The announcement from Aurora Public Schools comes several hours after Denver Public Schools said it was considering pushing the first day of school for most schools back a week to Aug. 24 to give teachers more time to prepare and to cut down on the number of hot August school days. DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova says the district expects to share more details about a possible delayed start next Monday, July 20.
Aurora's announcement also came almost a day after Douglas County Public Schools said it would delay its start by a week, pushing the first day of classes back to Aug. 17 from Aug. 10.
Here are other planned school reopenings from across the Denver metro area in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic:
-- Adams County School District 14 will start school for 6th and 9th graders on Aug. 10; the first day for all students will be Aug. 11
-- 27J Schools will start school on Aug. 12
-- Littleton Public Schools will begin classes on Aug. 13
-- Poudre School District will start classes on Aug. 17
-- Greeley-Evans School District 6 will begin their first day of school on Aug. 17 for grades 1-12; Kindergarten will begin on Aug. 19
-- Jefferson County Public Schools will begin the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 24
-- Adams 12 Five Star Schools will start school on Aug. 19 for students in Kindergarten through 9th grade; all other students will start the school year on Aug. 20
-- Westminster Public Schools will begin classes on Aug. 20.
This is by no means a full and comprehensive list. Please check your child's school district website for more information.