AURORA | Citing decreasing COVID-19 transmission rates in the community and the fact that teachers will soon be vaccinated, Aurora Public Schools announced Monday that it will begin increasing the amount of in-person education over the rest of the semester.
APS brought students back to the classroom in January in a hybrid model after being almost entirely remote for all of the fall semester. The semester was only scheduled through Feb. 12, and the district said it would announce further plans in early February.
In a message to district families, Superintendent Rico Munn said that the semester has been going well and due to a variety of factors the district will begin increasing the amount of in-person learning, with the ultimate goal of having students in school every day as much as possible.
COVID-19 cases are decreasing in Adams and Arapahoe County, Munn said in the message. According to the Tri-County Health Department incidence rates for the virus are around 300 per 100,000 for both counties and have been slowly decreasing for the past month.
Additionally, both counties are now in the yellow segment of the state’s new, less restrictive COVID-19 dial that went into effect over the weekend. In-person learning is suggested for K-12 schools in the level yellow.
Educators also began receiving vaccinations on Monday after the state moved teachers and school staff up in the priority list for the vaccine. The state hopes to vaccinate all teachers in a three-week period in February, and school districts are partnering with health providers to vaccinate staff. APS is working with Kaiser Permanente, Centura Health, UC Health and Salud Family Health Centers, according to district spokesperson Corey Christiansen.
Munn named all of these as reasons for the decision to increase in-person learning, as well as a survey conducted of APS parents, students and employees showing that a majority favored fully in-person learning.
The planned changes in school schedule are:
- Preschool students will continue going to school every week Monday-Thursday.
- Beginning Feb. 16, kindergarten through 5th grade students will attend school every week Monday-Thursday.
- Feb. 16 until spring break middle school students will attend school two days a week in person, with half the student body on campus at a time. After spring break, all students will be on campus Monday-Thursday.
- Feb. 16 through spring break high school students will attend school in person for half days two days a week, with half the student body on campus at a time. The rest of the time they will be in remote learning. After spring break, students will attend school Monday-Thursday for half days either in the morning or the afternoon and will learn remotely the rest of the time, with half the student body on campus at a time.
Fridays will remain asynchronous learning days for all students through at least spring break. All students have the option of staying fully remote if they do not want to go back to in-person learning.
While on campus, all students must wear masks and should be kept home if they have any potential COVID-19 symptoms.