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Monday marks a historic first day back at school for students across the Denver metro area

Districts deal with tech problems, outages
Back to school 2020
Posted at 8:57 AM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 09:57:13-04

It's a first day of school for the history books for hundreds of thousands of students in Denver, Jefferson County, Littleton, Douglas County and Cherry Creek schools.

The majority of students in those schools are starting the year remotely.

Jeffco Public Schools Interim Superintendent Kristopher Schuh called it a "soft" opening.

"The soft opening for two weeks is all about comfort, orientation, and getting ready, not only for students, but also staff," he said.

At Stony Creek Elementary in Littleton, teachers welcomed students for an orientation and a preview of what to expect when they return to school in person after Labor Day. Then they sent the kids home with computers for two weeks of remote learning.

Denver Public Schools is also starting the year remotely, but Superintendent Susana Cordova said she hopes it will be temporary .

"We know how challenging it is for some kids to learn in a virtual environment, so our goal is to continue to monitor what's going on in our community with COVID-19," she said.

Cordova said if conditions with the virus remain stable, they hope to bring students back to the classroom even earlier than originally planned.

"October would be the latest that we would have all students back," Cordova said.

In the meantime DPS has made some improvements to remote learning. All elementary students will be on the same online learning platform, called Seesaw. Secondary students will all use Schoology. Students will also receive three hours a day of live face-to-face instruction online.

DPS is working to get computers in the hands of every student. After struggling to find laptops because of a nationwide shortage, the district received 3,000 laptops on Friday.

DPS isn't the only district experiencing technical difficulties. The Douglas County School District announced Sunday it was postponing e-learning for elementary and middle school students says because of issues with the online platform Edgenuity. High school students who chose the e-learning option also had their fist day postponed to Aug. 31. District spokesperon Paula Hans said DCSD was working to hire a few more teachers for e-learning, and make sure high school students could get all their required and elective courses online.

On Monday morning, video conference host Zoom reported partial outages with hosting meetings and webinars.

"We have received reports of users being unable to start and join Zoom Meetings and Webinars. We are currently investigating and will provide updates as we have them. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience," Zoom's Twitter account said in response to reports of issues on Monday morning.