D11 students and parents demand action after some schools transition back to remote learning

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COLORADO SPRINGS — A group of Colorado Springs District 11 parents are upset after the district placed several schools back on remote learning. They say it’s taking away from their students’ experience and affecting their mental health.

The concerned group gathered Friday outside the D11’s Administrative building, to voice their frustrations. A D11 spokesperson said the decision to return to remote learning in some schools was made as a precaution, due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases. According to the El Paso County Health Department, more than 37% of current active outbreaks are happening at K-12 schools.

“Every place, every district is different. And they may not see the numbers we are seeing and so making the call on these things has been challenging. We don’t want to cancel, but we are trying to move forward and reschedule,” said Dan Hoff, D11 Executive Director of School Leadership.

Coronado High School senior Elizabeth Gumper was one of approximately 20 people demonstrating on Friday. Gumper said she was upset because her school choir concert had been canceled.

“To know it was canceled and we will never perform, and the work we did was for nothing – it’s very disheartening,” she said.

Gumper was joined by other Coronado High School seniors including Tyler Wright.

“It’s a once in a lifetime thing for sure. Heck, this is my senior year and you get one – and with this current shutdown, I have one more day of in-person learning,” said Wright.

Shannon Rogers organized the event, and emphasized it wasn’t a protest over wearing masks.

“The administration came in – and they haven’t been in the schools – and took everything away. And we want our kids to have options,” she said.

D11 said they are expecting to return to in-person learning by May 10 and are planning to move forward with graduation – a difficult decision, they said.

“We know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and a lot of events families look forward to, and so we are asking them to be pateint,” said D11 Chief Communications Officer, Devra Ashby.

Hoff added each school presents a different situation and certain stipulations have to be met in order for students to go back to the classroom.

“We’d like to see a decline in those numbers and dip below a protocol of essentially five positives and looking at the quarantining of the in-person student population of about 20%,” said Hoff.

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