COLORADO SPRINGS — Middle and high school students in the Academy School District 20 (ASD20) may still choose to attend school remotely full-time, but for those who want more in-person time they will soon have that opportunity.
Superintendent Tom Gregory announced Thursday night at the ASD20 Board of Education meeting that the district will expand in-person learning for middle and high school students to a four-day per week schedule starting March 15 – the first day of the district’s fourth quarter.
All COVID-19 safety protocols will remain in place: wearing face coverings, washing hands regularly and providing good ventilation within our buildings.
For the past 11 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district’s middle and high school students have only engaged in in-person learning two days per week, via the hybrid schedule.
There may be more individuals in the school buildings, so the district’s school leaders are working to ensure the best possible social distancing and cohort structures, given floor plans and schedules.
District leaders have been closely monitoring three sets of COVID-19 metrics and the data is encouraging. The cases per 100,000 have decreased significantly since early December and are currently hovering around 120. The positivity rate mirrors the same decline and is hovering between 5 and 6 percent. Plus, the number of people going to hospital for Covid-19 is decreasing and is approaching the “green” level. As a result of these improved health metrics, El Paso County has been reclassified to “yellow” on the COVID-19 dial, where in-person education is suggested.
In addition to improving health metrics, beginning in January the COVID-19 vaccine was made available to certain ASD20 staff and then made available to all staff in early February. Although the district does not know who and/or when individual staff members have been vaccinated – because of the rollout process and health privacy – the district is aware of aggregate numbers that show significant progress regarding vaccinations for ASD20 teachers and staff.
As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes even more prevalent, it is reasonable to expect the health data will continue improving consistently, so much so that El Paso County may qualify for the “blue” classification in the near future.
The district sent out a district wide communication announcing this new opportunity Thursday around 9 p.m.