GREENWOOD VILLAGE | The Cherry Creek School District has joined Aurora Public Schools in announcing it will continue remote learning through at least the end of the fall semester.
“Due to the minimal reporting of student cases and continued high COVID incident rate in Arapahoe County (nearly 1,000 cases per 100,000 people) and the state, we are unable to operate schools,” Superintendent Scott Siegfried said in a Tuesday letter to district families.
The decision was announced so that students and teachers can have a consistent schedule for the three weeks until winter break, Siegfried said.
The district bucked metro-area trends by starting school in person, with ambitious goals to keep classrooms open through a combination of cohorting, mask wearing and teacher testing. The plan worked for 11 weeks, but the district went remote in November after the internal tracker it created to determine school safety dipped into the red zone with no indication it would go back up.
Siegfried earlier told the Sentinel he wanted to get at least young students back in classrooms as soon as the data indicated it was safe, but the nationwide surge of COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks has kept the tracker in the red.
Because school will be remote for the immediate future, the district will temporarily stop tracking COVID-19 on its website, Siegfried said. He directed people to the Tri-County Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard for data on how the virus is spreading in the community.
“Since our data has consistently shown that transmission of the virus does not happen in schools in any meaningful way, we are working closely with our teachers’ association and other groups to develop a plan for returning to in-person learning in January,” Siegfried said in the letter.
Based on the fall semester, the district has a better chance of having successful in-person learning if the county’s incidence rate is near 500 cases per 100,000 people, he said. According to Tri-County’s dashboard, Arapahoe County’s current 14-day incidence rate is 970.1. One in 41 Coloradans statewide is estimated to be contagious with the virus, Gov. Jared Polis said in a Tuesday press conference.
Neighboring Aurora Public Schools will also be remote through the end of the semester. The district, which only had a brief period of in-person learning, was brought back to remote learning first for a month and then through winter break. A decision about what school will look like in the spring semester will be announced by Jan. 4.