D-11 joins other Colorado Springs school districts in moving to remote learning after Thanksgiving break

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D-11 Logo(Colorado Springs School District 11)
Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 4:12 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The second-largest school district in the Pikes Peak region is moving to remote learning soon.

The decision announced by District 11 on Wednesday follows in the footsteps of D-49, D-2, D-60 and D-70.

For D-11, the current plan is to switch most students to remote learning after Thanksgiving break. For the time being, in-person learning isn’t expected to occur until Jan. 6 of 2021.

The following message was sent to D-11 parents and guardians on Wednesday:

Dear D-11 Families,

As COVID-19 continues to surge throughout our region and the State, we have no choice but to move into a district-wide remote instructional model. With an increasing rate of transmission, along with staff and students who have either tested positive or are now in quarantine, it has become unsustainable for us to continue in our hybrid and in-person models. Our goal has been to provide a safe and successful in-person instructional model. Sadly though, we have been experiencing a significant increase in staff and student quarantines and we simply don’t have enough staff or substitutes to keep our schools open for in-person learning much longer.

With multiple new positive COVID-19 cases and school quarantines just over the past few days, our school district has reached a tipping point and we are making the very difficult decision to shift to remote learning beginning right after the Thanksgiving break until the winter break, returning to in-person learning at the beginning of the second semester (January 6 for students to return in person, staff returns January 4, 2021).

Our intention at this point is to return to in-person learning at the beginning of the second semester. We will continue to monitor the health and wellbeing, as best we can, for those in our district and community. If the situation does not improve, a decision to extend remote learning will need to be made closer to the start of the second semester. Your small acts, and those of our community during this duration will impact the District’s ability to return to the hybrid and in-person instructional models.

Rationale for this decision:

• High positivity rate in our community as reported by El Paso County Public Health.

• Increasing positivity rate within School District 11. Where we only had 43 cases in the first nine weeks of school, we’ve had 63 cases in the past 14 days (see www.d11.org/coviddashboard).

• High number of students and staff in quarantine with every school impacted due to school-related and non-school-related exposures.

• The challenge to adequately staff buildings, bus routes, and the other essential roles in our district.

We are giving families and staff this notice to help prepare the logistics:

• Students need to bring home district-issued technology devices and necessary personal items (winter wear, etc.) by November 20, 2020.

• Watch for an email from your school principal with school-related logistics.

• For schools already in full remote learning, your school(s) will work with you to coordinate pick up for any personal items and/or necessary technology pick up.

We are thankful our district has had some time to conduct hybrid and in-person learning. Families have been flexible when a class or grade-level needed to go remote due to quarantines. We recognize the move to remote learning causes logistical issues for families and is less ideal than in-person learning.

Additional Technology Internet Resource

District 11 is excited to announce an opportunity for over 1,600 families to use a hotspot with free internet service through T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s Project 10Million provided District 11 FREE mobile hotspots with 100GB of data per year for up to five years. Each hotspot includes a content filter that is compliant with the Child Internet Protection Act. T-Mobile is working with school districts across the country and has more information posted on their website at this LINK. Parents must opt into this opportunity by completing this FORM or by contacting their school. Student and family information will be kept confidential. District 11 plans to begin checkout of these devices in the coming weeks with priority given to households with the greatest need. If you have any questions, you may email kathy.new@d11.org.

Food Service

District 11 is committed to the health and wellness of our students during this time. Curbside grab and go meals will still be available from 11:00am to 12:30pm at select school sites for breakfasts and lunches. Please contact your child’s school or visit the D11 website for details.

We knew going into this school year that each of us would need to adapt as the situation surrounding COVID-19 evolves and we receive further guidance from the State and local health officials. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and collaboration during these unprecedented times. Please continue to check email for more information from building principals and teachers.

Yours in Partnership,

Dr. Michael J. Thomas, Superintendent

Colorado Springs School District 11

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