Douglas County parents who are not quite ready to go without any COVID-19 safety protocols will be able to allow their children to still wear masks or enroll in online learning for at least one more …
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Douglas County parents who are not quite ready to go without any COVID-19 safety protocols will be able to allow their children to still wear masks or enroll in online learning for at least one more year.
Paula Hans, the public information officer for the Douglas County School District, confirmed the district will offer a transitional, one-year option of synchronous, remote learning for families and students who are unable to return to full-time, in-person learning — or who are uncomfortable about doing so — during the 2021-2022 school year.
During the summer break, the Douglas County School Board and administration have held discussions regarding next year's protocols. Earlier this month, the board agreed it was time to remove all restrictions regarding COVID-19 for in-person learning.
Superintendent Cory Wise announced students would no longer be required to wear masks or practice the social-distancing requirements encouraged by the Tri-County Health Department throughout the 2020-2021 school year.
Wise also announced that sports programs, field trips and allowing visitors into the district's schools will return to normal in the upcoming school year.
In acknowledging that some parents may not be comfortable with the “revert to normal” plan, Wise said the school will be respectful. If students still want to wear masks, they will be allowed to do so, he said.
For parents still wanting to take part in remote learning, the district has kept the eDCSD Remote Learning Program in place. For more information and to enroll in the online program, parents can visit the website at www.dcsdk12.org.
To date, the district has 424 K-12 students enrolled in the online learning program next year.
During the June 1 meeting, school board member Kevin Leung expressed concerns with being consistent and whether the district has a plan for students and staff who suffer from autoimmune disorders.
Lueng said students and staff with compromised immune systems can struggle with in-person learning, especially if the new COVID variants that are said to be more contagious become more prominent in Colorado.
Wise explained that keeping online learning options in place is intended to accommodate the most vulnerable in the school district. Further, Wise said if something happens to a student during the school year, families will be able to switch to online learning at any point.
“Each situation can be a little bit different, but we have multiple options to help the most vulnerable,” Wise said. “We built in some flexibility in cases if families need to request a change.”
Wise said to add in even more flexibility, there is a hybrid component in the eDCSD Remote Learning Program that could allow remote students to have some in-person interactions.
Board member Krista Holtzmann asked if the district's latest plan to drop restrictions and switch to in-person learning this fall follows recommendations and guidelines established by Tri-County Health.
As the school year draws closer, Wise said the district will continue to review updates from the health department that are to be released on July 1 and Aug. 1. Wise said they will continue to communicate with the health department to discuss issues and the district's policies.
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