DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — The Douglas County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to bring middle and high school students back to full, in-person learning after spring break.
In a superintendent report to the board in the meeting Tuesday night, recommendations included:
- Middle and high schools return to full, in-person learning starting March 22.
- Transportation operates at normal capacity — 1.5 miles for elementary, 3 miles from secondary and all routes for eligible students with special needs, homeless and foster students.
- Students and families with extenuating circumstances who wish to intermittently attend classes remotely will need to have this option pre-arranged and approved by their school principal.
It has been the district and board’s plan to return after spring break because it will be a natural transition with the start of the first quarter. All student-facing staff have also had the ability and access to vaccinations, with second vaccinations for the majority taking place before spring break.
The Douglas County School District (DCSD) will continue mitigation efforts, including wearing masks, washing hands, asking anyone with symptoms to stay home and social distancing as much as possible.
Returning back to full, in-person learning has been met with mixed reactions from parents, with some parents appreciating the hybrid learning model and others pushing to get kids back full-time.
A Castle Rock parent, Nate Ormond, has led the Road to Recall campaign, an effort to recall four school board members in response to the delay returning secondary students to in-person learning in January. However, Tuesday afternoon the group of parents behind the campaign announced they were recalling the campaign in anticipation of the decision to return in-person.
“Having achieved our short-term goal of getting our children back in the classroom, we are now kicking off an eight-month campaign to hold the current board responsible in November. Instead of sitting back until September, we’ll build on our current momentum without even a short break. The volunteer activism, social media activity, Zoom Q&As, neighborhood organizing — it’s all continuing,” Ormond said.
A majority of students are also looking forward to returning to the classroom five days a week. Emma Peters, a member of the Douglas County Student Advisory Group, presented results of a student-led survey of just under 4,000 secondary students that showed 63% of middle school students preferred in-person learning and 37% preferred hybrid. For high school students, 53% preferred in-person learning and 47% preferred hybrid. Reasons for their answers ranged from socialization to academics to mental health.