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Students at both Boulder High School and Boulder’s Eisenhower Elementary will learn remotely for the next two weeks because too few teachers are available for in-person classes during required quarantines, the Boulder Valley School District announced Wednesday.

“We are being very diligent with our public health partners to contact trace,” said Boulder Valley spokesman Randy Barber. “Staff members and students are quarantined proactively. It’s not that it’s unsafe or that we’ve been ordered to close. It’s just making it very difficult to operate. It is impacting our staffing.”

At Boulder High, according to a letter sent to families from the school, four positive cases of COVID-19 prompted quarantines that “heavily impacted the number of staff members we have available to sustain in-person learning at our school.”

Boulder Valley’s coronavirus dashboard shows 11 staff members and 86 students are quarantined because of those four positive cases.

Remote learning starts Thursday for Boulder High students, who the district expects can return for in-person classes starting Nov. 12. As a precautionary measure, according to the letter, the school building also will be completely closed for 72 hours to allow for deep cleaning.

During the initial 72 hours, according to the letter, school leaders also will decide if it’s possible for a limited, earlier return to in-person classes for special education students in intensive programs and students who are recent immigrants.

According to the letter, the decision wasn’t prompted by additional cases but instead was made “to ensure that we can continue instruction with the limited staff we have available.”

Boulder Valley implemented staggered starts for in-person learning, with ninth graders starting back last week and 10th through 12th graders returning starting Tuesday — though students only attend one day a week in a hybrid model.

That means two groups of Boulder High 10th and 12th graders hadn’t yet started their one-day-a-week, in-person classes.

At Eisenhower Elementary, three positive coronavirus cases required eight staff members — including the principal — and 36 students to quarantine. As at Boulder High, students were moved to remote only because of staffing issues, and the school building will be deep cleaned.

Eisenhower students will go remote Thursday and are expected to be allowed to return for in-person classes Nov. 10. Elementary students attend four days a week.

The entire sixth grade class at Broomfield Heights Middle School also is learning remotely because of staffing issues. At Broomfield Heights, there is one positive and one probable coronavirus case, requiring 14 staff members and 10 students to quarantine.

Broomfield Heights sixth-graders are expected to return for in-person classes starting Nov. 8. Middle school students attend two days a week.

Districtwide, Boulder Valley’s coronavirus dashboard shows 17 active possible or confirmed cases at 12 elementary schools, with 405 students and 49 staff members quarantined. At middle schools, there are four active possible or probable cases at three schools with 25 students and 19 staff members quarantined. At high schools, only Boulder High is reporting cases.

Barber said the district isn’t really seeing coronavirus spread within schools. Instead, he said, most cases have been attributed to social events outside school.

He said local health officials are seeing “coronavirus fatigue” as people get together more while social distancing and masking less.

“All these different decisions we make outside school do have an impact inside school,” he said. “We want to keep kids in school as long as we can, safely. We know that kids are benefiting. We just need to reaffirm that (following health guidelines) is what it takes to keep kids in school.”

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