AURORA, Colo. – Aurora students will not be coming back to class for the first quarter of the school year.
During a Friday night meeting, the Aurora Public School Board of Education voted to begin the school year remotely for the first eight weeks, citing the recent increase of coronavirus cases in Adams and Arapahoe counties.
The new plan comes nine days after the district delayed its start date 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 at APS were originally scheduled to begin on Aug. 11
Once students are allowed to return to class, those attending elementary, middle and P-8 schools will get the chance 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.
For high school students, APS is planning on having freshmen and sophomores 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.
In a letter sent to parents and staff last week, APS 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,” district officials said, adding they would be sharing more detailed information about transportation in the coming weeks.
Should the plan remain as is, the first day that students would be allowed to return to in-person learning would be October 20, after students come back from fall recess, which is from Oct. 12 through Oct. 16, according to the district's school calendar.
“We will continue our planning for rigorous remote learning for APS students in the fall and continue to plan for a transition to in-person learning when there is no longer a concerning increase in COVID-19 cases,” said APS spokesman Corey Christiansen. “The health and safety of our students, staff and community is our top priority. We remain grounded in science and public health guidance.”