LITTLETON, Colo. (KDVR) — Littleton Public Schools announced Wednesday evening that all students will be learning online starting next week.
In a message to families, LPS Superintendent Brian Ewert said the change will take effect Tuesday, Nov. 17 and possibly last for the remainder of the fall semester.
The decision comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise rapidly across Colorado, especially along the Front Range.
Ewert said the district plans to return to the current schedule at the start of the next semester on Jan. 5, 2021.
Right now, elementary students are attending school five days a week while middle and high school students are on a hybrid schedule.
According to Ewert, since the start of the school year, there have been 140 positive COVID-19 cases and about 90 quarantines among 16,000 students and staff members in the district.
“This is remarkably low and a true testament to the commitment of our students, teachers, employees and families to follow health protocols and properly quarantine to prevent spread in order to keep more students in school as much as possible,” the superintendent said.
However, he said recently, LPS cases have risen alongside those in Arapahoe County, meaning in-person learning is “no longer feasible,” especially due to staffing challenges.
“It is especially difficult, and impossible on some days, to have enough licensed teachers in classrooms delivering quality instruction. There are more absences due to colds and flu, as well. Our teachers and all of our school-based staff have done a truly outstanding job, taking on a much heavier workload since August. As quarantines increase, the stress and anxiety across the entire system is becoming unmanageable,” Ewert said.
The superintendent thanked families for their flexibility and patience.
“While we wish we could have given families more time to prepare for this shift, with as quickly as quarantines are increasing, it is likely that many of our schools would have needed to make the shift to remote learning by next week anyway,” Ewert wrote.
LPS is the latest Denver-area school district to move online. Others include Denver Public Schools (most students), Cherry Creek School District, Adams 12 and Aurora Public Schools. Jeffco Public Schools plans to make an announcement about remote learning on Thursday.