Metro area school districts all agree to finish school year remotely because of pandemic

Signs taped to a classroom door at Gateway High School in Aurora give instructions. Schools are now closed because of the pandemic through the remainder of the school year. PHOTO BY PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | The school year for children in the city and the surrounding area will be completed remotely per a joint announcement from Metro Area public school superintendents Friday.

Buildings in the Aurora Public Schools, Cherry Creek School District and nearby school districts will remain closed for the rest of the school year and the online learning that began this week will remain place for the duration.

CCSD Superintendent Scott Siegfried detailed the decision in a letter to the district’s parents, which also included the text of a joint letter signed by the superintendents of 14 districts across the metro area.

“This difficult decision was made to protect the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, family and community,” Siegfried said. “It was made after consultation with our Board of Education, local and state public health agencies and other metro area school districts.”

A joint letter that included the signatures of superintendents from 27J Schools, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Adams 14 Schools, Aurora Public Schools (Rico Munn), Cherry Creek (Siegfried), Clear Creek School District, Denver Public Schools, Douglas County School District, Englewood Schools, Jeffco Public Schools, Littleton Public Schools, Mapleton Public Schools, Sheridan School District 2 and Westminster Public Schools indicated that the expected peak of the coronavirus pandemic in the state is expected in the last week of April according to health departments, so moving solely to online learning might help keep those numbers lower.

The superintendents also felt a decision now would help all energy and resources be put into the creation of the best online learning opportunities.

“We believe that finishing the school year through remote learning is one of the most effective ways in which we can do our part to avoid exposing anyone to unnecessary risk,” the letter stated.

Regis Jesuit High School Director of Communications Charesse Broderick-King said the private school has been online learning since it returned from spring break March 23 and a determination on the rest of the school year hadn’t yet been made.

The school expects to make the determination before April 30, when the social distancing guidelines extended by Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday are currently scheduled to expire.

“We are considering what is best for our community in terms of impacts that decision has on our families and faculty and staff as well as our commitment to ensuring health and safety,” Broderick-King told the Sentinel.