Majority of District 70 students to return to the classroom

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PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. — The majority of District 70 schools in Pueblo County will be returning to the classroom on Monday.

Since August 24, D70 students were taking part in remote learning.

“Teachers have been putting 10 to 12 hours reaching out to parents and making online platforms work while making students comfortable,” said Amy Spock, President fo the Pueblo County Education Association.

Starting Monday, elementary school students will return to the classroom.

Middle school students and Rye High School students will be phased-in each day starting with orientation.

Pueblo West High and Pueblo County High School students will be learning from home until the last week of September.

“About 50 percent of our staff still have safety concerns and even those that want to be back fully with kids still have some lingering questions,” said Spock.

The District gave both teachers and students the option to opt-out of in-person learning. So far, 10 percent of students have chosen to do so.

Students will be required to wear face coverings, but the challenge Spock says will be getting the younger kids to follow the guidelines.

“They are the ones with the greatest need to be back with teachers, it’s going to be very difficult to maintain hands-off and social distancing,” said Spock.

Given recent budget cuts, the district says a hybrid model is the best option right now for their two biggest high schools.

“There’s even one science class at one of the high schools that has 51 students in it,” said D-70 Public Information Officer, Todd Seip. “So there’s no way you can do that, but we are the lowest funded school district in the state and we are unable to hire all those extra teachers we would need to do that.”

Seip and Spock say the district took a $5 million budget cut for the school year.

Seip says students who are in pre-school through kindergarten will receive hat shields to help them comply with current health guidelines.

The district will meet up on Friday to finalize all in building procedures.

To learn more on the upcoming changes go to the district’s website.

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