DPS releases tentative plan for fall, including requiring masks for students and teachers

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Public Schools has released a video that shares some of the likely adjustments students and staff will face when schools reopen in mid-August.

First is the admission that remote learning at home will continue for students but hopefully not full-time.

“Ultimately we want to get our kids back into our buildings because we know education is something that is best done face-to-face, person-to-person,” said Mark Ferrandino, the deputy superintendent of operations for DPS.

The district has sent surveys to parents asking what worked and what didn’t work when it came to remote learning in the spring.

Ferrandino said online learning will continue partially in the fall because of social distancing guidelines that will likely force classrooms to have no more than 10 to 16 students.

“We know that 6-foot distancing is going to be key,” said Ferrandino.

“We expect that all adults and students will be required to wear masks,” DPS said on its website.

Daily temperature checks are likely to be standard for students and staff as well.

“For those of us who teach subjects like band and choir where it’s going to require students to be in closer proximity and they’re breathing on top of each other — that is going to be a big hurdle to cross,” said Priscilla Rahn, an eighth grade band and orchestra teacher at Hamilton Middle School.

She said teaching remotely has been difficult.

“There was a lot of inconsistencies with students turning in work and being held accountable for attendance,” Rahn said.

Despite the challenges that await her in the fall, she’s anxious to return to the classroom and said so are her students.

“When I talk to my students, they miss their friends. They miss the social aspects and they miss their teachers and they’re ready to go back,” Rahn said.

Students with district-issued laptops will keep them over the summer since the district anticipates remote learning will be necessary on a part-time basis.

FOX31 has learned the district spent $3.7 million to provide internet access to its students. Out of 93,000 students, 58,000 needed laptops and 2,600 also needed hotspots for WiFi access.

If there’s an outbreak at any schools, the district said it’s prepared to return to all remote learning for any infected school for at least 14 days.

The district plans to release more details about its fall plans in mid-June.

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