Denver parents concerned about priorities, transparency as school reopens

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DENVER (KDVR) — As Colorado’s largest school district prepares to open its doors to students in the fall, some parents have concerns about their planning amid an unprecedented pandemic. 

“We just want to make sure that the district, the city and the state know that we’ve got kids here and families that need quality safe childcare,” parent Paul Vranas said. 

Vranas and other parents like Brandon Pryor, who runs Warriors for High Quality Schools, just started a petition calling for more attention to support for low-income families in the return to school.

So far, only a couple dozen have signed. The petition calls for an enrollment strike, but Vranas says the concept is purely symbolic, and the focus is bringing the issues to the forefront of the return to school conversation.

“The parents appreciate how difficult this is. We appreciate the district’s effort and the teacher’s effort, but we just want our voices to be heard,” Vranas said. “We know DPS and teachers aren’t childcare providers, but we’re gonna have a childcare crisis here in the city so we need everybody to work together to think about creative solutions to help those in need.”

Denver Public Schools has a 66-page draft plan for returning to school, but parents want to see more of a commitment to in-person learning for younger students in kindergarten and early childhood education.

“Taking a one-size-fits-all to remote learning may not be the right approach,” Vranas said.

Another item Denver parents want to know about: What will it take for the district to switch from in-person learning to it’s hybrid model, or even switching to full remote learning.

“Let’s get some transparency about what are the things, what are the metrics, what are the expectations that you’re gonna have,” Vranas said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Denver Public Schools said:

“These concerns are also top of mind for Denver Public Schools as we explore every option that prioritizes the health and safety of the community. We are working with health officials on what metrics and conditions would allow for a safe return to schools, especially for our youngest learners, and hope to provide this information to families in the coming weeks. We are also working with other partners on how the community can provide much-needed childcare, including partnering with Denver’s Office of Children’s Affairs and the Denver After School Alliance, to identify and address childcare gaps.”

Denver Public Schools

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