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Jeffco Public Schools will send most students to remote learning by the end of November, citing COVID-19 surge

Jeffco Public Schools will send most students to remote
learning by the end of November, citing COVID-19 surge 1

Jeffco Public Schools will shift all students except for those in preschool to remote learning by the end of the month, as COVID-19 continues to run rampant in the Denver region.

Students in grades six through 12 will start learning online on Monday, followed by kindergarten through fifth grade on Nov. 30 after Thanksgiving break.

In a note to families Thursday, Kristopher Schuh, the district’s interim superintendent, said students would remain in online education until winter break, at which time administrators will reevaluate COVID-19 conditions to see if they permit in-person learning.

Preschools will still offer full-time, in-person learning; however, parents can call the preschool office at 303-982-1737 if they would like to enroll their children in e-learning during this time period. Students with special needs in all grade levels are also eligible to continue in-person classes four days per week.

This move was expected after Schuh told the Board of Education on Wednesday that COVID-19 cases and quarantines were frequently disrupting classes and often shutting down schools.

“The data shows unrelenting increases in COVID-19 cases and none of the public health officials forecast a significant reduction in those rates in the weeks ahead,” Sshuh said in his note. “Simply put, we’ve now reached the point at which the benefits of in-person learning are outweighed by the disruption caused by abrupt transitions to quarantines and by the risk of COVID-19 exposures within our buildings.”

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The district will continue to watch COVID-19 trends and make any modifications or extensions to learning format as necessary, Schuh added.

Jeffco originally delayed the start of in-person classes until after Labor Day. Since then, elementary school students have been attending full-time, in-person learning, while middle and high school students have attended two days a week in-person on a hybrid schedule.

The district has reported dozens of cases, but remained firmly committed to keeping schools open, even as Jefferson County tightened restrictions on businesses and community gatherings in response to rising COVID-19 rates.

The county experienced a seven-day average positivity rate of 12.92% for the week ending Nov. 5, according to Jefferson County Public Health. There were also about 500 cases per 100,000 people over the two weeks ending Nov. 4, the agency said.

Jeffco is just the latest district to transition online in light of the recent COVID-19 surge. Cherry Creek School District, Aurora Public Schools, Sheridan School District No. 2, Westminster Public Schools, Adams County School District 14 and Adams 12 Five Star Schools have recently moved much of, if not all of their student bodies online.

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