Parents look at private school options to keep their kids in the classroom

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DENVER (KDVR) — Several private schools in Denver have noticed an increase in enrollment and interest from parents, as many look to keep their kids in the classroom this school year.

Lani Oneil says she made a last-minute decision to switch her daughter from Denver Public Schools to a private school.

“She was really let down when she found out they weren’t doing in-person learning. And she was adamant that she needed to be around other kids,” said Oneil.

Oneil says she checked around with a few private schools before finding Accelerated Schools in Denver, a private school with small class sizes. She says her daughter, Eva was on board with the idea and will start fourth grade at the school next week.

“She does have a little bit of the same anxiety we all have about, ‘What am I doing?’ But it’s a relief to her that I can let her out of the house and she doesn’t have to stay home all day and find ways to entertain herself,” said Oneil.

Oneil is a single parent who works full-time. Her daughter is an only child. She says their decision is what’s best for their family alone, and it may look much different from other families.

“I think that each of us just have to decide case by case,” said Oneil.

Other families may be thinking along the same lines as several private schools are noticing an increase in enrollment this year.

The Archdiocese of Denver released the following statement on the matter:

“While it has varied from school to school, in general, we have seen an increase in inquiries from parents who desire in-person learning for their students, and many of our schools have reported new enrollments. 

In some instances, schools have had to waitlist students to ensure proper social distancing can be followed in a classroom.

Working with a taskforce of advisors including doctors, nurses, and experts in infectious disease, and following the protocols and recommendations from the state government and CDC, the Archdiocese of Denver Office of Catholic Schools has developed a comprehensive set of guidelines for our schools to ensure we protect the health of our students, teachers and staff as we return to school.”

Denver Academy is also noticing an increase in interest from certain groups of students. It released the following statement:

“For the 2020-21 school year at Denver Academy, we are right on par with where we’ve been in terms of enrollment numbers in recent years. The difference for this school year has been an increase in younger applicants. We’ve had more younger applicants than ever before, so we’ve had to make some adjustments in teacher assignments. We have added a new third grade classroom (twelve students) in our Elementary School to meet this demand. 

We are also seeing an increase over previous years of applicants who are siblings of current students. About half of those new sibling applicants have applied within the last two months.” 

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