AURORA | It’s that time of year again. After an all-too-fast summer, the 2022-2023 school year is just around the corner for Aurora students.
Aurora Public Schools’ first day of school is August 9 for students in first through 12 grade, and Aug. 15 for students in kindergarten and preschool. The Cherry Creek School District will have a phased-in start August 15 through 17.
APS is asking families to check their returning students in online before the school year starts, which can be done at the district’s website. Families with students in grades 3 through 8 who are interested in the district’s online learning program can also apply online.
The district will have an in-person back to school kickoff on Saturday, Aug. 6 at the Town Center at Aurora from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The kickoff will have free food, games and entertainment. Free backpacks and school supplies will be distributed while supplies last. Families will also have the opportunity to register their students for school, meet school staff, get the COVID-19 vaccine and other immunizations and get connected to other community resources.
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for everyone over six months of age. Information about where to get a COVID-19 vaccine or test locally is available on the Tri-County Health Department website at www.tchd.org/818/Coronavirus-COVID-19 and from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment online at covid19.colorado.gov/ or by calling 1-877-268-2926.
APS is hosting a number of vaccine clinics for families and community members. The next one is scheduled for Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Clyde Miller P-8, 1701 Espana Street.
COVID-19 health policies will remain largely the same at APS as they were at the end of the last school year. Students are encouraged but not required to be vaccinated, while it will continue to be required for district employees. Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to stay home for five days and wear a mask inside for the five days following, as per current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Cherry Creek, the district will report data to data to the Tri-County Health Department until it officially ends at the end of the year and the state when required to, according to spokesperson Abbe Smith. Starting in 2023, the district will report to the newly-established Arapahoe County health department.
“We will continue to offer rapid tests through our school clinics to families and staff as supplies exist, and we will also strongly encourage everyone to stay home when sick, Smith said. “This is a huge piece to our success in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and all other communicable diseases.
Masks won’t be required of students or teachers, but they may wear them if they choose to.
Tri-County executive director Dr. John Douglas told The Sentinel that he did not anticipate future public health orders to limit the spread of the coronavirus unless a new variant that is much more effective at infecting and sickening vaccinated people emerges.
“I wouldn’t see us reintroducing that unless things get substantially worse,” he said of mask mandates.
Unlike the past several years, families will once again need to apply for free and reduced lunch. At the beginning of the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture expanded its school lunch programs, and through the end of the past school year all students were allowed to receive free school meals without families having to fill out paperwork to qualify. That expansion has now expired. Applications opened July 1 and can be completed at any point during the school year.
In Cherry Creek, families can apply online or ask for a paper copy of the application form at the student nutrition center or their student’s school.
APS families can apply online at payschoolscentral.com or get a paper application at the Nutrition Services Department office at 15771 East 1st Avenue.
APS had its first board of education meeting on Tuesday night, and will have its second meeting of the month on Tuesday, Aug. 16. Starting this school year the board has switched to a twice-monthly schedule, with the first meeting of the month designated as a standing work session without public comment or any votes.
Meetings will continue to be held at the district’s Professional Learning and Conference Center at 15771 East 1st Avenue at 6 p.m., and will also be broadcast live on YouTube and Zoom.
The Cherry Creek board of education will have its first meeting of the school year on Monday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at Fox Ridge Middle School in Aurora. The board meets in person the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at a different district school.