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D-20 announces all middle and high schools will transition to eLearning starting Monday

Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 9:11 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The biggest school district in Colorado Springs announced a change to in-person learning due to COVID-19 concerns Friday evening.

D-20 joins other school districts in the Pikes Peak Region in altering their learning plan as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in both El Paso County and across the State of Colorado. Starting Monday, all middle and high schools will transition to eLearning through the end of the first semester. It’s unclear what will happen with elementary schools.

“I am forced to make the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. We must find a sustainable path forward,” Superintendent Tom Gregory wrote on Facebook about the announcement.

Click here for the latest from D-20.

The following was sent to 11 News Friday night:

"Effective Monday, Nov. 16, all Academy District 20 middle and high schools will transition to eLearning through at least the end of the first semester. The district has not yet made a decision about our elementary schools. Therefore, elementary students should plan to attend in-person learning next week, unless the school is already in a remote learning mode. The district will make a decision about how elementary students will proceed no later than Monday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m.

Please see the below communication, sent to district staff and families between 8:30 – 8:45 p.m. tonight, for the full details.

If you have any questions, you can reach me on my cell. Also, if you need any interviews, I could Zoom over the weekend.

Thank you for your support"

A spokesperson for the district says they want the kids in school just as much as anyone else, but with the rise in cases in the community, that can’t safely happen right now.

“We had nearly 15% of our students and staff in active quarantines and then after we talked to our principals there was just no way to keep our kids in-person learning," Allison Cortez, D20, the district’s chief communications officer said.

The district says they hope this will be a reasonably easy transition for the students because this is something they have done before. Parents say although that may be true, online learning still comes with its challenges.

"I think some of the biggest challenges is just around the lack of structure, accountability--it’s really easy for these kids to sign in and then ghost the rest of the class,” parent Kristine Garofalo explained. “And the availability of resources. These teachers are being pulled in a million different directions.”

Not only that, but they say technical issues can happen, too, along with just kids missing out on school activities.

“I just think its sad for these kids that they are not in school with their peers. They are not building relationships and having the learning experience that they should be having,” continued. “Although I’m frustrated, I do believe it’s in the best interest of the kids right now, just because there’s so much inconsistency.”

Parents who need help at-home learning can utilize online resources from the district, including the Khan Academy, BrainPOP Family Access, Scholastic Learn at Home and more. If a student needs a device for learning or a hot spot, the district will provide one, you just need to contact your child’s school. When it comes to meals: D-20 will be giving out free grab and go bags if needed.

The district and parents hope the precautions they are taking now will get kids back in the classroom come next semester.

“As the COVID cases really surged throughout our community we saw more and more of our students and our teachers in quarantine. So if we want to get our students back to in-person learning we have to come together as a community and we each need to do our part,” Cortez added.

“I think that we need to look at it broader. We need to understand as a community what is the goal?" Garofalo said.

"I am forced to make the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. We must find a sustainable path forward,"...

Posted by Academy District 20 on Friday, November 13, 2020

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