The Boulder Valley School District recently updated its plans for the fall, providing more details for a scenario that mixes remote and in-person learning when school resumes.
Based on current guidelines, in-person learning would be in small, stable groups of students and staff members with limited movement around the building. Students wouldn’t eat lunch in cafeterias, wouldn’t have recess and wouldn’t attend assemblies or go on field trips.
Earlier in May, the district developed five possible scenarios for school in the fall, from remote-only learning to a return to full-time in school learning — giving the district the flexibility to respond to changing public health data, guidelines and potential outbreaks.
“The phases, which are set, provide a high-level structure for how everything will work,” Boulder Valley spokesman Randy Barber wrote in an email. “Future developments will add additional detail.”
New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Colorado Department of Education aligns with Boulder Valley’s hybrid model for phase three, according to district officials.
The guidelines, which could change before August, require all staff members and students to be screened each day before school. The guidelines also encourage students to wear face coverings and require regular, frequent hand washing and sanitizing breaks.
Desks would need to be six feet apart. Halls would be one-way. Students would stay in classrooms and teachers would move as needed, but as little as possible. No traditional water fountains, touchless bottle filling only. No lockers to minimize gathering. Food would be eaten in classrooms or outside.
“As you can imagine, these limitations, as well as the current Safer at Home order restrictions that limit groups to no larger than 10 people, create some real challenges to solve,” Boulder Valley officials wrote in a letter sent to families last week.
The district’s reintroduction task force is developing scenarios ranging from daily in-person learning opportunities to weekly blocks of in-person instruction followed by weekly blocks of home learning, according to the letter.
The task force is focusing on providing more consistent in-person learning schedules at the elementary level, while allowing more flexibility for students in grades six to 12. Other areas of focus include maintaining social distancing, limiting mixing of students in buildings and on buses, and providing adequate time to disinfect between sessions.
Families who want their children to learn only from home, with remote instruction provided by their current school, will have that option, Barber said.
In any of the five phases that are options for the coming school year, families also can enroll in Boulder Universal, the district’s online, K-12 school.
Enrollment would be for the school year and, in the fall of 2021, students’ enrollment would revert to back to their original schools — so open enrolled students wouldn’t give up their seats at their current schools.
A possible exception is if students are enrolled in charter schools, as the charters will decide individually if Boulder Universal enrollment means losing spots.
The district is asking families to provide feedback on the plans and is expected to launch a new online tool this week called “Let’s Talk BVSD” to “facilitate dialogue with our community,” according to the letter.
Boulder Valley also is planning to provide another written update in mid-June.