Poudre School District has announced the decision to start the new school year with PreK-12 students learning remotely through at least the end of the first quarter, Friday, Oct. 16 due to the consensus that it is unwise to open schools in the current environment.
PSD leadership and Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) officials will re-evaluate public health conditions between now and then and determine whether or not they can responsibly open schools or if they will need to continue remote education. The Poudre School District (PSD) plans to communicate further to staff and families Friday, August 7.
The first day of school is set to take place Monday, August 24 for all students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. PSD has tracked current COVID-19 data in Larimer County and does not want their actions to result in a spike in cases within the community.
“These are not easy decisions and there is no perfect answer,” said Tom Gonzales, Larimer County public health director. “With cases continuing to rise, counties across the state will struggle to conduct timely contact tracing with this delay in results,” said Tom.
Face coverings will be a requirement for all staff and students except for those with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing one.
Important safety protocols in place at all schools to limit the spread of COVID-19 are as follows:
- Maintain six feet of social distancing to the fullest extent; may not be possible in all instances.
- Build a shared culture of hygiene and handwashing.
- Separate students into cohorts, as possible, to reduce contact and possible COVID-19 exposure and to allow for contact tracing as necessary.
- Enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces and sanitizing of buildings and restrooms
- No visitors or volunteers will be allowed in schools.
- All field trips and/or other activities allowed outside school, including 5th grade Eco trips, will not be allowed for at least the first quarter (roughly 9 weeks after the start of school).
- PSD is actively collaborating with county health officials on plans for possible exposure, contact tracing and school closures and will share more prior to the start of school.
PSD virtual is a completely remote education options parents may choose for their child for the 2020-21 school year, however, the deadline to enroll in it has been extended from Saturday, August 1 to Saturday, August 8. PSD will bus students who require it such as foster families. Additionally, face coverings will be required for drivers and riders and all busses will be disinfected at least twice daily.
“Things have changed just about every day in our community and across the country in the overall response to COVID-19,” said Madeline Noblett, Executive Director of Communications for Poudre School District. “As we were validating our plan released last week, we determined in consultation with the health department that we were not comfortable opening in person-environment with all of our kids and teachers eventually coming back together in that gradual way,” said Madeline.
For more information regarding the PSD and their plan for remote learning including updates, visit: northfortynews.com