DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Public Schools is planning to have students return on time to Morey Middle School in Capitol Hill, despite a growing homeless encampment now surrounding the campus.
Officials estimate more than 100 people have set up tents on all four sides of the middle school, in what has become one of the largest encampments in Denver.
On Wednesday, officials held a virtual town hall, discussing potential next steps.
“Can I open the school?” asked Morey Principal Hillary Niebauer. “Are we even going to be able to open our school up?”
The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) and homeless advocates say they’re working through options that include finding housing or relocating the group to a different area.
A survey provided by Denver Homeless Out Loud showed of the 60 people surveyed at the camp, only one preferred staying put, with 59 others preferring housing or an encampment of some sort in a different area.
Bob McDonald, the director of the DDPHE, remains confident the department will have it figured out by mid-August, when students return to the classroom.
“I mean, that’s the goal. And there’s a lot of things that have to be worked out, but I’m confident, that is the goal and that’s what we’re shooting for,” he said.
Denver Public Schools released the following statement Thursday, saying it anticipates an on-time opening.
“We are planning to open Morey MS and will continue to work with City and County of Denver to ensure it is safe to do so, as it is critical this be resolved in a timely manner so the building can be accessed safely by staff and students.”