Reopening schools: The latest information for El Paso County districts

Reopening Southern Colorado Schools

A bottle of hand sanitizer sits on a cart as Des Moines Public Schools custodian Tracy Harris cleans a chair in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. As the Trump administration pushes full steam ahead to force schools to resume in-person education, public health experts warn that a one-size-fits-all reopening could drive infection and death rates even higher. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

COLORADO SPRINGS — School districts in the Pikes Peak region have scrambled to put together guidelines for children preparing to return to school this fall, adjusting and readjusting plans as fluctuating data surrounding coronavirus cases in the area is collected and analyzed.

The Colorado Department of Public Health, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Governor’s Office have released “guidance”, which they expect Local Public Health agencies and individual districts to reference as they develop future plans.


The state identified its goals for reopening school include ensuring a “reasonable level of safety for students and staff for in-person learning,” minimizing “disruptions to education,” and ensuring “equity in educational opportunity.”

In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case in a school, the state guidelines say schools should be prepared to shift to remote learning for a time period between two and 14 days. CDPHE is expected to provide statewide standards regarding “exposure definitions” and “outbreak investigation requirements” later in July.

Current plans for each El Paso County School district are listed below:

Lewis-Palmer School District 38

D38 welcomed students and staff back to schools on August 19, in-line with an announcement made in July.

The district is offering two “baseline learning scenarios,” which include in-person and online options.

An announcement regarding an outbreak at Bear Creek Elementary School was made public on Friday, August 28.

Colorado Springs School District 11

District 11 announced September 25 that the return to in-person learning at four high schools will be delayed for one week. Coronado, Doherty, Mitchell, and Palmer high schools will return to in-person learning the week of October 5.

“After a thorough assessment of the situation, it’s been determined the traditional high schools will not have sufficient ventilation in the majority of rooms to allow for in-person learning to start next week as planned,” the district said in the announcement. “At this point in time, most facility staff members are working overtime on the issue and external contractors are also working overtime on the systems. The District is doing everything possible to get these systems fixed properly, as soon as possible.”

The Roy J. Wasson academic campus has proper ventilation and will resume in-person learning as originally scheduled.

Academy School District 20
D20 announced an update for its plan for the 2020/2021 school year on August 11. The main change to the district’s previous plan is that students in grade 6 – 12 will begin the year in a remote, synchronous environment.

  • Hybrid and synchronous learning option for families are laid out as follows:

·         Hybrid: Students attend class both virtually and in person.

·         Synchronous: Students attend classes at home, in real time, simultaneously with peers who attend in-person. Essentially, a student attends an in-person class virtually.

  • The plan was built around the three goals of: 
    • Implementing  protocols and structures that protect the health and safety of students and staff.
    • Developing  educational options for students and parents.
    • Maximizing  academic and social emotional growth opportunities for students.
  • Any updates to the Return to School Plan will ONLY be made in the Return to School section of

All students older than 10 must wear face coverings on buses, in school buildings, and while on schools grounds. Teachers, all staff members, and visitors must do the same.

Calhan School District RJ-1
Calhan School District will open, as scheduled, for in-person learning, on August 11, 2020.

Students will attend school daily with “prevailing public health order protection protocols” in place.

Cheyenne Mountain School District 12
The Cheyenne Mountain School District has announced its Return to Learn Plan to parents in Late July.

A previous note from Superintendant Walt Cooper included information that the current calendar will likely be ammended to reflect different start dates for different grade levels.

Edison 54JT School District
The Edison School District has announced it will reopen its scools to in-person learning on August 13, 2020.

Although not yet made public, the district referenced a “Tiered Academic Learning Plan,” which is being designed to “provide in person instruction every day except in the most extreme health conditions regionally.”

Ellicott School District 22
The Ellicott School District plans to reopen for in-person and remote learning in August. The district says it will follow all state issued mandates.

The district’s superintendent released a draft of guidelines ahead of its return to the classroom next month.

Falcon School District 49
District 49 will start school on August 17, with remote learning as the primary mode. The goal is to have a staggered, in-person return after Labor Day.

For students who return in person, everyone (grades one – 12) will be required to wear a mask.

Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8
D8 will reopen schools on Monday, August 17, by phasing in students by grade level throughout the week.

The district expects to release further, clarifying details on topics such as meals, face coverings, sick students and staff, transportation, and more, over the next several days.

Hanover School District
An “action plan” referencing in-person and remote learning is linked on the district’s page, but no document is available.

Harrison School District 2

Students began the 2020-2021 school year on August 17.

Starting September 8, students in grades 6-12 will be able to choose between eLearning and an in-person/remote hybrid model.

The district said they will continue to work with El Paso County Public Health to determine how and when to bring back the entire student body safely.

Manitou Springs School District 14
Schools in District 14 will return to in-person learning in August. The school will provide safety measures such as plexiglass dividers for each student’s desk and face shields as needed.

A weekly update posted on July 22 online noted “by the first week of August, Building Principals will provide more specific details of what parents, students, and staff can expect as we reopen schools.”

Miami-Yoder JT60
The Miami-Yoder website indicates students will return to school on August 11.

Widefield School District 3
Widefield schools will reopen for in-person learning on August 24:
– Pre-K will start with a modified in-person learning model (in school)
– Grades 6 – 12 will start with a distanced learning model (at home) until September 15

Families that are not comfortable returning to schools have the option to participate in the D3 My Way online program.

The district sent a letter out to its families and staff on August 11.

This article will be updated as changes are made.

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