Poudre School District will start year with hybrid learning, pushes back first day of school


Poudre School District will start the 2020-21 school year one week later than originally planned and will begin with a hybrid schedule.

The first day of school for PSD students will be Monday, Aug. 24 to give staff additional time to prepare for bringing students back safely, the district announced Monday. 

Schools will reopen in a gradual manner in Phase 3, the hybrid learning model, with most students attending in person two days a week and remote learning on other days.

The district’s plan outlines what the first three weeks of school will look like and says it will be adjusted based on new public health protocols as coronavirus conditions change. The initial schedule is planned through Sept. 11. A letter sent to the PSD community said another communication about the schedule will come on Aug. 10.

What about masks?

All students will be required to wear masks while in school unless they have a medical condition. This is more inclusive than the state mask mandate, which requires only individuals over the age of 10 to wear a mask.  Parents are asked to check temperatures and keep kids home if they are sick or have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher.

How the hybrid plan will work

Students in all grades will be broken into A and B groups, which will determine when they will be in-person learning and when they’ll be remote learning. The students’ group assignments are currently available in ParentVUE, according to the district. For all grades, those in the A group will be in school in person Mondays and Wednesdays, with students in the B group in school on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Gradual reopening adds complexity

The gradual reopening means for the first two weeks of school, schedules won’t be as straightforward as the district is planning for them to be in the third week.

In the first two weeks, students will alternate between half days in school and full days at home — the district says it is listening to parents who do not want their kids in school during the hottest part of the day.

In addition, for the first two weeks, Fridays will be teacher collaboration days and students will either be off or remote learning, depending on grade level.

By the third week, after students take off Labor Day, the district is planning for all K-5 students to attend school all day, every day in-person, according to the PSD email. Middle and high-schoolers will be in school buildings two full days per week, according to the alternating group schedule. And group A secondary students will be in school buildings Wednesday and Friday that week. 

The four phases

The district had prepared for four possible phases to begin the year:

  • Phase 1: Schools are closed. Instruction is carried out remotely. This is how PSD ended the 2019-20 year after closing in March due to the spread of COVID-19.
  • Phase 2: Limited in-person learning, with gatherings of 10 people or less. Most learning would be remote, but there could be limited in-person interaction in small groups.
  • Phase 3: Hybrid model. Students are broken into “A” and “B” groups, with A in classrooms Monday and Wednesday and B in classrooms Tuesday and Thursday. Friday would be a day for at-home learning and teacher collaboration.
  • Phase 4: All students in school all day. The district may limit classrooms to 20-25 people and would likely require health safety measures such as temperature checks, contact tracing and the use of personal protective equipment.

While the district said they hope this decision will not change before the first day of school, it is likely they will have to move among these four phases throughout the school year as public health conditions and recommendations change. 

Internet access

The district is asking parents to log into ParentVUE and answer a question about their child’s access to the Internet.

PSD Virtual

There is still a 100% virtual option for anyone who wants it. The deadline to register for it Aug. 8.


The district will let parents and guardians know if their students will be given bus transportation sometime after Aug. 1, the district said.

Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at sswanson@coloradoan.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at Coloradoan.com/subscribe.