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Colorado Board of Education wants superintendents to regain power over in-person classes

Most members of the Colorado State Board of Education want Gov. Jared Polis to relinquish control of deciding whether in-person learning can happen in K-12 schools in the coming school year.

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“As we enter into the recovery phase of the pandemic, it is paramount for us to prioritize both academic progress and well-being of students who experienced disruptions in their learning opportunities last year,” five of the board’s seven members said in a joint letter to the governor, which was announced by state Department of Education officials on Wednesday.

Control over whether schools return to in-person learning is best left with superintendents and local boards who know their students, families and communities better, the letter said.

“During the upcoming 2021-22 school year, superintendents and local boards must have the authority to make decisions in support of unrestricted in-person learning,” the letter continued. The group also noted that COVID-19 transmission rates are at lower levels now and they believe it’s safe to resume “normal operating practice” in the state.

Only members Rebecca McClellan and Karla Esser, both Democrats, didn’t sign the letter, the news release said.

A representative from Polis’ office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. In June, the governor told The Denver Post he’s ready to let go of the authority he wielded during the pandemic.

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