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Dear Jeffco Public Schools staff, students, and families,
On Wednesday, April 1, Colorado Governor Jared Polis extended the state-wide suspension of in-person instruction at all public and private schools through April 30 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. School districts have been encouraged to work with their local county health departments for further guidance on how to proceed.
After consultation with Jefferson County Public Health and in coordination with other districts in the metro Denver area, we have made the difficult decision to suspend in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year. We will continue on our path delivering remote learning for students and remote work for staff through the end of this school year, 2019-2020.
The key factor leading to this decision is guidance from county health officials and the information shared in the Governor’s announcement that the impact of COVID-19 is likely to peak from mid-April through possibly July. This creates a significant safety risk for all of our students, families, and staff members and because of that determination, we believe extending our remote learning program is a wise step for us to take as a district and a community.
The joint statement below reflects this similar action taken by 14 metro-area school districts. We believe that making this decision at this time will bring clarity and reduce some of the uncertainty being experienced by our students and families.
We know there are many unanswered questions, including the status of graduations and other end-of-year events, final exam schedules, preparing buildings and classrooms for end-of-school-year closures, and construction plans. We are working to determine the answers to these, and other questions, and we will be sharing that information as soon as possible. We appreciate your ongoing support, trust, and patience as we work through these challenging issues and uncertain times as a community.
Jeffco Public Schools
April 3, 2020
Dear Community Members,
As many of you know, upon becoming aware of the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado and the myriad concerns inherent, school superintendents took action several weeks ago to protect students, staff and the community. We have been working hard to provide leadership guidance to families throughout Colorado. As school superintendents, we consult and collaborate many times each day to share thinking and to problem solve as a regional group.
Two days ago, on April 1, Governor Polis announced extended closures of schools in Colorado through April 30, 2020. Over the past several weeks, we have spoken regularly and often to public health officials and state officials to better understand the timeline and path forward for the year, both with regard to COVID-19 and “traditional” school year expectations. We understand that there are not specific answers to exactly how and when we return to “life as normal” during this unprecedented health crisis. Given that, we must rely upon our best judgement and place safety above all else.
What is clear is that there will not be definitive, universal guidance to proceed as normal. Rather, there will be a gradual lifting of restrictions and a step-by-step return to normalcy. What we do know is that once the “Stay at Home” orders are lifted, we will continue to have restrictions on social distancing and the size of group gatherings for at least several weeks, if not months. Given the nature of a school environment (classrooms, passing periods, buses, playgrounds, etc.), these restrictions are not practical within the school setting. As such, there does not appear to be a viable way for us to convene traditional in-person learning this school year.
Collectively we believe, and are making the decision, that in the best interest of the children, staff, and the communities that we serve, our schools will remain closed to in-person learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
A significant consideration in making this decision today is guidance from the respective health departments serving our districts. Many models currently show that the impact of COVID-19 is likely to peak in the last week of April. Even once COVID-19 reaches its peak in Colorado, we know that there will be an equivalent amount of time after the peak in which the virus continues to pose a significant threat. The continued safety and public health risk this presents for our students, staff, families, and communities moves us to take the step of extended closure to in-person learning through the balance of the school year.
Additionally, providing a concrete direction now with regard to in-person learning for the duration of the school year allows us to focus our energy and attention to addressing questions and concerns, rather than ongoing uncertainty. It will also allow us, as school district leaders, to shift to a proactive stance in that we can begin to plan for completing the current year remotely, and returning to school in August when we are able to joyfully welcome our students, staff and families back into our buildings.
Making this decision was extremely difficult. We do believe, however, that this is the right decision given all of the information that we have received from health experts and state officials. Our teams have been hard at work developing quality remote learning opportunities for our students. Please know that the health and safety of our students, staff and families is paramount. We believe that finishing this school year through remote learning is one of the most effective ways in which we can do our part to avoid exposing anyone to unnecessary risk.
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Adams 14 Schools
Aurora Public Schools
Cherry Creek School District
Clear Creek School District
Denver Public Schools
Douglas County Schools
Jeffco Public Schools
Littleton Public Schools
Mapleton Public Schools
Sheridan School District 2
Westminster Public Schools
Gov. Jared Polis on Friday asked all Coloradans to begin wearing cloth facemasks when they leave their home for essential activities, such as grocery shopping.
"At this point, a cloth face mask or scarf should be part of everybody's personal hygiene practices and social distancing measures," Polis said. "When you're out of the home, you should use a mask at all times."