DENVER (KDVR) — Middle and high school (“secondary”) students in the Denver Public Schools system will not return to in-person learning on Oct. 21 as planned.
The district said the earliest secondary students will resume in-person learning is the week of Nov. 9.
However, elementary students will still return to the classroom next week, as will students in special-education center programs, newcomer centers and remote learning centers.
“Our health experts have emphasized that elementary-aged students are at a significantly lower risk of getting or transmitting COVID. We also have seen limited disruptions so far in our elementary in-person schooling, and we know that remote learning presents special challenges for elementary students and families,” DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova said in a statement issued Tuesday night.
Earlier Tuesday, Cordova said Denver Health Medical Center has urged DPS to be cautious about plans to bring secondary students back.
In her evening statement, Cordova said the rise in COVID-19 cases in Denver led to the decision to delay in-person learning for secondary students.
“We know this will be a disappointment for many of our secondary students as well as school leaders and staff, as I know you have been working hard to make plans to safely reopen our doors. This was not an easy decision to make. Yet given our overriding focus on health and safety and the current COVID conditions and guidance we are receiving, we feel this is the right decision,” Cordova said.
At a press conference Monday, Mayor Michael Hancock said COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Denver and Denver County and the seven-day average for cases are as high as they were at the height of the pandemic in May.
The current positivity rate is between 4 and 4.5 percent and has risen steadily the last several weeks. Anything over 5% could mean dialing back capacities and enforcing stricter safer at home orders.
As of Tuesday, Denver County (the state’s most populous) had 15,103 COVID-19 cases and 439 deaths, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Cordova said DPS will reassess the situation at the end of October.