Adams 12 sends students remote through the end of the fall semester

All students in Adams 12 Five Star Schools will be learning remotely come Nov. 16, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the Denver metro area.

The district previously moved sixth- through 12th-grade students to remote learning but maintained in-person classes as an option for younger learners. That’s no longer feasible given the current conditions surrounding COVID-19, said Superintendent Chris Gdowski in an announcement Monday.

Friday will be the last day of in-person learning at all Adams 12 preschools and elementary schools, as well as at Bollman and Washington Square technical schools. On Nov. 16, students will connect with their teachers virtually and prepare for synchronous, or real-time, learning on Nov. 17.

This transition also applies to Before and After School Enrichment programs, students with special needs and advanced academic needs, and English learners.

Gdowski said instruction will continue remotely through the conclusion of the fall semester for students on Dec. 17. In-person supports for special needs, advanced academic needs and English language learners may be available starting Nov. 30, but the district is still working through details, he said.

“I realize this news is the latest in a long string of disappointments in 2020,” Gdowski said in his note. “Simply put, we’ve now reached the point at which the benefits of in-person learning for our youngest students are outweighed by the disruption caused by abrupt transitions to quarantines and by the risk of COVID exposures within our schools.”

The move comes as cases of COVID-19 are skyrocketing across the district and causing operational challenges as teachers who have potentially been exposed are forced to quarantine. Since mid-September, COVID incidence rates have increased by nearly 900%, Gdowski said, adding that more than 200 staff and students who have tested positive for COVID and more than 3,900 people have been quarantined.

Adams 12 follows numerous other metro-area districts that have transitioned online in light of the recent COVID-19 surge, including Cherry Creek School District, Aurora Public Schools, Sheridan School District No. 2, Westminster Public Schools, and Adams County School District 14. Denver Public Schools, the state’s largest district, has implemented or extended remote learning for all grades except K-2.

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