Public Schools

How are Denver-area public schools reopening for the spring semester?

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

Following a rocky fall semester, Colorado schools are taking the lessons they learned about educating students during a pandemic and putting them toward a common goal: getting kids and teachers safely back in classrooms.

Public health experts point to research that shows schools are not a vector for COVID-19 to spread, insisting it is imperative for children’s academic and social-emotional wellbeing to be physically in class. Teachers are now slated to be vaccinated in Phase 1B of Colorado’s rollout plan, likely later this winter.

Still, school and government officials believe they can successfully host in-person learning with widespread testing and shorter quarantine periods, as well as other sanitation and prevention measures.

Most districts are planning to start the year remotely and gradually phase students back to in-person learning, while also making a fully virtual option available to families who prefer schooling from home. But if the COVID-19 pandemic has made anything clear, it’s that those plans are subject to change based on local health conditions.

The Denver Post will continuously update this list to keep readers informed on how their schools are operating.

How Denver-area school districts are hosting classes

Adams 12 Five Star Schools begins the semester remotely before slowly reopening facilities for in-person learning. Classes start Jan. 7, before some special needs students and English language learners may return in-person on Jan. 11. On Jan. 25, students in preschool through fifth grade return to full-time in-person learning, while students in sixth through 12th grade start attending on a hybrid schedule. Get the latest updates here.

Adams County School District 14 expects all students to begin the spring semester in remote learning on Jan. 5. By Jan. 19, the district plans to bring elementary students back for in-person four days a week. By Jan. 25, middle school students will have some form of in-person learning, though the format may vary by school. And by Feb. 1, high school students should have some in-person learning as well, though that may also vary by school. Get the latest updates here.

Aurora Public Schools plans to start the semester on Jan. 11 with one week of remote education before welcoming back students in a hybrid format. Kids in grades kindergarten through 12th grade will be divided into “A” and “B” groups to attend school during alternating weeks. Group “A” returns in-person on Jan. 19; group “B” returns in-person on Jan. 25. The weeks in between, students will complete classes remotely. Preschoolers are slated to start full-time, in-person learning on Jan. 11. Get the latest updates here.

Boulder Valley School District expects to phase students into in-person learning by grade. On Jan. 5, kindergarten through fifth grade students return for four days of in-person instruction weekly. Secondary school students come back on a hybrid schedule of two days per week in-person, starting with sixth through eighth graders on Jan. 12 and followed by ninth through 12th graders on Jan. 19. Preschool students are expected to start with two days of in-person instruction on Jan. 5 before transitioning to four days in-person on Feb. 2. Get the latest updates here.

Cherry Creek School District will host three days of remote learning (Jan. 6-8) before it welcomes all students back for in-person learning in some capacity. On Jan. 11, those in elementary school begin full-time, in-person learning, while middle and high school students return on a hybrid schedule that includes two days per week of in-person instruction. Get the latest updates here.

Denver Public Schools anticipates hosting the first week of spring semester classes (Jan. 5-8) remotely before phasing students back into schools. On Jan. 11, students enrolled in early childhood education through fifth grade, including those in SPED Centers and Newcomer Centers, are expected to return to in-person learning. Beginning Jan. 19, secondary school students may start attending classes in-person, though plans may vary by individual schools. By Feb. 1, the district plans to open schools to all students who choose to go back in-person. Get the latest updates here.

Douglas County School District plans to stagger students’ return to in-person classes, starting with the youngest grades. On Jan. 5, preschoolers and elementary school students start attending classes in-person five days a week, while middle and high schoolers begin full-time remote learning. The district recently moved up its timeline for in-person classes at the secondary level and now hopes to welcome middle and high schoolers back on a hybrid schedule by the end of January. Get the latest updates here.

About the author

Mamie M. Arndt