Private schools planning in-person learning on day 1

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DENVER (KDVR) — While many school districts, like Denver Public Schools, are delaying in-person classes at the beginning of the semester, some private schools are moving forward with having students and teachers together on day one.

When Denver Academy’s school year starts on August 17, both students, teachers and staff will all be on campus.

“We’re looking forward to coming back to school and being with each other,” said Valerie Hamlin, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Denver Academy.

Denver Academy is an independent day school for students in grades 1-12. The school specializes in helping diverse learners.

“Any sort of learning difference where they may not thrive in a public school,” Hamlin explained.

Unlike most public schools, private schools keep their classrooms to a minimum.

” We’re fortunate that we have small class sizes – so a maximum of 12 anyway. We have a classroom we’ve already setup to test where the kids are six feet apart,” Hamlin said.

In fact, only about 380 students attend Denver Academy. Compare that to a public school like Denver’s East High School, which has 2,555 students.

“And we are actually going to be going outside every 30 minutes so the teachers and students have a mask break and we’re outside where it’s a safer environment,” Hamlin said.

Not only are they going to take breaks outside, teachers are also going to take their lessons to the campus’ quad.

They plan to setup 7 large-scale tents to serve as outdoor classrooms.

“We’re going to do outdoor popup classrooms. We have an opportunity, as long as the weather cooperates, for all of us to be outside,” said Mark Twarokowski, Head of School at Denver Academy.

Tuition to private schools can be pricey. Denver Academy’s tuition for the 2020-2021 school year is $29,975 for Grades 1-6 and $32,375 for Grades 7-12.

Other private schools, like the Denver Waldorf School, are also looking to have in-person learning start on day one.

“With our small community and large campus, we are hopeful that all students will have the opportunity for full-day in-person learning when we return in August,” the Denver Waldorf School said in a post on Facebook.

Denver’s Fusion Academy is taking a different route. It’s offering one on one Zoom learning between teachers and students.

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