Aurora Public Schools on ‘watch status’ one day after students return to in-person learning

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AURORA | One day after students returned to in-person learning at Aurora Public Schools, the district is on “watch status” after its internal model indicated that in-person learning may not be safe.

The district is using a decision matrix comprised of nine public safety measures on a 30-point scale. The matrix is updated every two weeks, though the district evaluates data on a daily basis.

After being updated on Monday, the matrix calculated a total of 13 points out of 30, which is one point lower than the range at which socially distant in-person learning is recommended.

“I recognize that this latest data is concerning,” Superintendent Rico Munn said in an email sent to the APS community. “However, it does not automatically trigger a need to change our learning model.”

Munn said that the district will now be on “watch status” and the data will be closely monitored over the next two weeks. A decision as to whether the district needs to change learning models will be made by Oct. 22, and if it does need to return to online learning that will begin the week of Oct. 26.

The district is 80% in Arapahoe County and 20% in Adams County, which is currently experiencing a spike in COVID-19 rates. The COVID-19 positivity rate within the bounds of the district is 5.97%, according to the matrix, which is above the World Health Organization’s recommendation of below 5%.

One person tested positive for COVID-19 at Hinkley High School on Monday, district spokesperson Corey Christiansen said. One other staff member may have been exposed, and was notified by the district.