Englewood students to return in January

District went remote in November; all students in all grades to return to full weeks

David Gilbert
dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/22/20

Englewood Public Schools plans to bring students back to classrooms for full-day, full-week, in-person instruction after winter break, Superintendent Wendy Rubin said. The district is planning on a …

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Englewood students to return in January

District went remote in November; all students in all grades to return to full weeks

Posted

Englewood Public Schools plans to bring students back to classrooms for full-day, full-week, in-person instruction after winter break, Superintendent Wendy Rubin said.

The district is planning on a return date of Jan. 11 for all grades.

“We didn’t want to mess around with ‘hybrid’ learning,” Rubin said, referring to part-time online instruction. “We’re a smaller district. We have a lot more flexibility in terms of how we can bring kids back.”

Families who would like to opt out of returning to classrooms can continue to use the district’s all-online “eLearning” platform.

The district, which serves about 2,650 students, joined numerous neighboring districts in going fully remote in mid-November as COVID case counts surged.

The planned return remains dependent on COVID-19 transmission levels going forward.

“As long as things keep trending downward, and as long as we don’t see fallout from Christmas and New Year’s gatherings, we can make this work,” Rubin said.

Rubin said the fall semester went about as well as could be expected.

“We were actually really pleased we were able to get through a whole quarter and a couple extra weeks before we went remote,” she said. “We had a couple schools where some student cohorts had to quarantine multiple times. You’re asking kids and teachers to upend their daily lives for two weeks at a time. It’s hard on people.”

Rubin said educators are eager to bring students back into classrooms, and she feels classrooms can be kept safe with strict adherence to protocols like mask wearing and scheduling that minimizes crowding.

“We believe we have the tools and systems in place to get us through to spring,” Rubin said. “Could we have more quarantines? Of course. Maybe even a school shutdown. But we are feeling very encouraged.”

A linchpin of the return plan, Rubin said, was recent news from Gov. Jared Polis assuring that schools will have access to rapid in-school COVID testing in the spring semester.

“If it’s noon on a school day and we have a student or staff member with a sore throat or headache, we’ll have a supply of rapid tests we can administer,” she said. “If they test positive, we can move quickly from there.”

Even if the rapid test is negative, she said, the student or staff member would go into quarantine the same day, but would be instructed to follow up with a more conclusive test through the COVID Check Colorado testing service.

Another important change from the fall semester is new guidance from health agencies allowing for smaller, shorter quarantines for people exposed to positive cases.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is planning to adopt new recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowing for seven-day quarantines for people who are exposed but receive a negative COVID test five days after exposure, or 10 days for people who are exposed, but don’t receive a test and don’t show symptoms.

People who show symptoms will continue to be instructed to stay home.

“Hopefully as more people get immunized, we’ll get through to spring,” Rubin said. “Fingers crossed.”

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