Planning for a classroom without a classroom

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COLORADO SPRINGS — When the end of spring break comes for many southern Colorado schools next week, things won’t be much different than it was during the extended reprieve.

Now under a formal order to stay-at-home from Governor Jared Polis, well-minded students will be at home learning.

“It’s important for parents to know, we are not expecting this to be a 100 percent burden on them,” said Christy McGee. “Once we launch remote learning, parents will have the full support of teachers.”

McGee, the communications director for Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, said the way remote learning will be handled will prioritize accessibility, communication, and adaptability.

Different districts are looking at how to best serve their students. In most districts and teachers are reaching out to families to find out what works best for them whether it be how to communicate or how to get assignments.

“We’re trying to accommodate all students so learning is equitable,” Widefield District 3 Communication Director Samantha Briggs said. “If they do not have access, there is an alternative. Our teachers are doing a great job of reaching out to those students this week and early next week to find out what those families’ needs are.”

The stay-at-home order will allow families to pick-up packets from schools which will be a necessity for many families in Colorado Springs.

A limited phone survey in District 8 found hundreds of families do not have adequate internet or technology to access online learning. Smartphones won’t cut it for math homework.

“What are some of those things that we can do online and that students can do and that teachers are trained to do?” McGee said. “Then, what are some student groups and some things we need to provide hard copies and packets for parents to pick up?”

Part of the plan to keep parents from assuming a new home-schooling roll is reliable communication with teachers.

Those guidelines for teachers in Academy School District 20 include regularly scheduled hours to answer questions as well as 24-hours for questions.

“Even though those students aren’t face to face anymore, communication is key. Knowing that you’ll have questions answered in a timely manner, knowing the time you can reach out to teachers with questions, that’s really the backbone of making this work,” Academy School District 20 Communication Director Allison Cortez said.

This story will be updated with information on standardized tests, measurements of success, and workload.

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