PSD will increase busing, return volunteers to schools as COVID-19 safety measures relax

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Poudre School District is seemingly relaxing a few COVID-19 safety measures as new cases continue to trend down in Larimer County. 

At a Tuesday, Feb. 9, school board meeting, Traci Gile, interim assistant superintendent of elementary schools, announced that elementary schools would be allowing two students per seat on operating bus routes.

She also said volunteers would soon begin to return to elementary schools.

Principals will reach out to bus-eligible riders — students living within .5 miles of an existing stop — to offer seats, said Gile, adding that this “should help with some of the traffic and transportation issues people have been experiencing over the last month.”

Gile also told the board that schools were going to introduce volunteers back to the classroom. Gile said these volunteers will “address the workload concerns for teachers who are doing a lot of before- and after-school duties and more supervision duties at their sites.”

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This is the first time volunteers will be allowed back to schools since last year.

Madeline Noblett, spokesperson for PSD, did not have additional details on when volunteers can be expected in buildings. She said the district is still working through protocols.

Gile said elementary principals are reaching out to former volunteers along with posting for additional volunteers to get involved. The volunteers will be mostly in outside positions, said Gile, doing tasks like before- and after-school duties and recess duties. They will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment and follow safety protocols PSD is following. 

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Scott Nielsen, assistant superintendent of secondary schools, said that he hopes to begin some similar volunteer measures to assist with teacher workload. He is also encouraging secondary non-instructional staff to volunteer at their feeder elementary schools to assist with workload struggles at the elementary level. 

“(This) is great work thinking about how do we support some of the workload issues we  see at the elementary schools,” Nielsen said. “We look forward to support from up here as well as support across the district to try and get out and help some of the challenges we see in buildings.”

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Molly Bohannon covers education for the Coloradoan. Follow her on Twitter @molboha or contact her at mbohannon@coloradoan.com. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.