District 8 back in the classroom

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 9:55 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Some students walked into classrooms for the first time in months Monday morning.

Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 is one of multiple southern Colorado districts that went back to school Monday.

It was an emotional morning for parents like Katelyn Smith. This is her first ‘first day of school’ as a mom, dropping off her daughter for kindergarten.

“I’m just being that normal overprotective mom,” Smith said. “Me and my husband kind of talked about whether or not we really wanted to put her in and enroll her, and we ended up deciding, ‘Let’s just put her in, see how it goes, and if it gets bad, we will just pull her out and put her in e-learning.‘”

District 8′s plan has elementary students doing in-person classes, with each grade starting on a different day of the first week of school. Students grades 6-12 have in-person orientation the first week, and then will be all online for at least four weeks. It’s part of the district’s plan to get students interacting in-person soon.

”We just feel like it’s better in person. We can do a better job,” says District 8′s public information officer Christy McGee. They get things like lunch and all the other pieces that go with education when being in our buildings.”

The district says they are following all guidance from local and state health leaders. Also, teachers are preparing for if schools close again. The district bought electronic learning devices for every student.

“We definitely have teachers who have trained more this year and in the spring on Schoology and other online platforms ... how to use that in the classroom, and then keep that transition smooth going into remote, so those are conversations were having,” McGee added.

The district says in-person class sizes are expected to be smaller because some families opted to keep their child home for e-learning. They couldn’t provide exact numbers when interviewed by KKTV, but a spring survey done by District 8 found about 20 percent of families at the time wanted to pursue e-learning. The return date of Sept. 15 for students grades 6-12 could change, the district says.

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