District 9-R Unveils Back-to-School Plans

07/24/2020

The coronavirus continues to infect residents in Durango School District 9-R, so district officials have prepared a number of options for students to continue their educations safely.

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DURANGO SCHOOL DISTRICT 9-R WILL PLAN TO OPEN CLASSROOMS TO STUDENTS ON AUGUST 25TH FOR THE 20-21 SCHOOL YEAR, BUT DISTRICT OFFICIALS WARN THAT COULD CHANGE BETWEEN NOW AND THEN. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE OVERLOOK AT EDGEMONT. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. AS ESSENTIAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS, SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE EDUCATING CHILDREN, SO DURANGO SCHOOL DISTRICT 9-R WILL OPEN CLASSROOMS TO STUDENTS ON AUGUST 25TH. BUT PARENTS WHO ARE UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT SENDING THEIR KIDS BACK TO SCHOOL WILL HAVE SEVERAL OTHER DISTRICT-SUPPORTED OPTIONS TO EDUCATE THEIR STUDENTS.
WE RECOGNIZE RIGHT NOW THAT WE HAVE FAMILIES IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLACES WITH COVID. WE KNOW THAT WE ARE FUNDED ON PER PEOPLE. SO, IF WE LOSE STUDENTS, WE LOSE DOLLARS. IF WE LOSE DOLLARS WITH 85 PERCENT OF YOUR BUDGET AND STAFF, YOU HAVE TO LOSE MORE STAFF. AND SO REALLY WANTING TO TAKE THE APPROACH OF LET'S MEET OUR COMMUNITY, WHERE THEY ARE, LET'S DEVELOP MODELS THAT ALLOWS THAT PARENT WHO REALLY IS CONCERNED THAT MAYBE THEIR CHILD HAS A GRANDPARENT IN THE HOME THAT MAY BE COMING TO SCHOOL. ISN'T WHAT THEY WANT. AT THE SAME TIME. WE HAVE PARENTS WHO WANT THEIR CHILDREN TO COME BACK PART TIME. UM, AND SO A BLENDED MODEL WHERE THEY COME A COUPLE OF DAYS A WEEK AND THEN REALLY FACILITATE THROUGH THAT WORK, FACILITATED BY TEACHERS CAN DO THAT AT HOME ON THE OTHER DAYS, AND THEN CERTAINLY IN PERSON. SO WE HAVE A LOT OF, A LOT OF FAMILIES WHO CAN'T WORK AND CAN'T GO ABOUT THEIR LIFE WITHOUT GETTING THEIR KIDS IN SCHOOL. AND SO, UM, WE KNEW THAT WE NEEDED TO BE FLEXIBLE AND THAT IF WE DIDN'T HAVE WHAT OUR FAMILIES NEEDED, THEY WOULD GO ELSEWHERE. UM, AND WE REALLY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE OFFER THE SUPPORTS THAT ARE, THAT OUR FAMILIES NEED. PARENTS MAY OPT TO SEND THEIR KIDS TO CLASS FULL TIME, CHOOSE TO EDUCATE THEM AT HOME FULL TIME OR ENROLL IN A BLENDED PROGRAM WHERE STUDENTS ATTEND CLASSES TWO DAYS A WEEK AND WORK FROM HOME TWO DAYS A WEEK. ALL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES WILL WEAR MASKS, STUDENTS WILL BE SOCIALLY DISTANCED WHILE IN THE CLASSROOM, AND REGULAR HEALTH SCREENINGS WILL BE CONDUCTED TO ENSURE THAT THOSE WITH SYMPTOMS REMAIN AT HOME. WHILE ON THE SCHOOL BUS, ALL STUDENTS WILL BE REQUIRED TO WEAR A MASK. WHILE IN THE CLASSROOMS, CHILDREN 10 YEARS OLD AND OLDER WILL BE ENCOURAGED TO WEAR MASKS, BUT STATE REGULATIONS RIGHT NOW PREVENT SCHOOLS FROM REQUIRING CHILDREN TO WEAR THEM. CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 10 YEARS OLD ALSO WILL BE ENCOURAGED TO WEAR MASKS, BUT FOR SOME PURPOSES, LIKE READING INSTRUCTION, WHERE OBSERVATIONS OF LIP MOVEMENT AND FACIAL EXPRESSIONS ARE CRITICAL FOR TEACHING, THE DISTRICT WILL PROVIDE CLEAR FACE SHIELDS FOR STUDENTS TO WEAR. IN THE MEANTIME, THE DISTRICT HAS DEVELOPED A SAFETY PLAN FOR OPENING SCHOOLS AND HAS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO TEST ITS PROVISIONS WITH SUMMER SCHOOL CLASSES THIS MONTH. FAMILIES ARE INVITED TO REVIEW AND COMMENT ON THE PLAN DURING A SERIES OF COMMUNITY MEETINGS SCHEDULED ON ZOOM FOR AUGUST 6TH AND 7TH. PARENTS WILL HAVE UNTIL MONDAY, AUGUST 10TH, TO IDENTIFY WHETHER THEY WANT THEIR CHILDREN TO ATTEND CLASS FULL TIME, ATTEND PART TIME, OR LEARN AT HOME. WHILE THE DISTRICT AWAITS GUIDANCE FOR CLASSROOM DENSITIES AND OTHER PRACTICES FROM THE COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, SNOWBERGER WARNS FAMILIES THAT ANY SAFETY MEASURES IN PLACE COULD CHANGE AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE. THE C D E, ALONG WITH THE COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT, HAS SET INFECTION BENCHMARKS FOR COMMUNITIES, AND IF A DISTRICT EXCEEDS THOSE BENCHMARKS, THEY COULD BE REQUIRED TO CLOSE.
The hardest thing for us is that this is ever changing. So, uh, we know parents want to know now and we'd like to tell them now, but we also know what we tell them now is probably not going to be reality.TO SEE A SCHEDULE OF IMPORTANT DATES AND TIMES FOR THE COMMUNITY SAFETY MEETINGS ON AUGUST 6TH AND 7TH, VISIT DURANGO SCHOOLS DOT ORG. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. THANKS FOR WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK.

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