St. Vrain Valley School District students should return to a hybrid form of in-person learning by early October if the current data surrounding COVID-19 holds in Boulder County, Superintendent Don Haddad said Wednesday night.
Haddad told school board members that if he had to decide this week, students would return to in-person classes at least on a half-time basis.
“If we were to make the decision today … it would be to move to a hybrid approach and K through 12(th) grade would come back and we would monitor from there,” Haddad told board members.
Haddad said he expects to make an announcement about students returning to brick-and-mortar classes at a virtual town hall the district will hold on Sept. 21. The meeting will include Boulder County health officials who will share the latest local data on the COVID-19 outbreak, Haddad said.
The virtual town hall is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on Vimeo. Parents are encouraged to submit questions in advance. “We will be answering questions from our community as time permits during this meeting,” Haddad stated in a letter sent to parents Wednesday.
Once the district turns to an in-person class rotation, parents should still expect students to be quarantined based on current state health requirements and the experiences of other school districts that started the year with students and teachers returning to school buildings, he said.
As of last week, more than 30 schools across the state had reported positive COVID cases, according to CBS4 Denver.
“There will be isolating, quarantining,” Haddad said. “If for some reason we’d be the only school district in the state to avoid that ... I just don’t see that happening.”
School board member Jim Berthold said rigid guidelines from the state require school districts to treat common flu symptoms as they would the secondary signs of COVID-19.
“If you have the sniffles, they are going to force you to look at it as a sign of COVID-19,” Berthold said. “Then they are back at home and emotionally that has got to be hard on them.”
St. Vrain Valley School District decided to begin the school year with students taking online classes to avoid COVID-19 infections. The district expects to revert to a hybrid approach on Oct. 1, with students returning to school buildings for instruction at least two days a week.
Parents who called into the board meeting Wednesday night said their children were suffering from isolation and frustration while trying to learn through the district’s online classes. They urged the district to return to in-person classes.
Sarah Longoria told the board her four children are not thriving with online learning. “I have seen depression and apathy from them over the past few months,” Longoria said. “We are struggling with online learning.”