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Littleton Public Schools will return to in-person learning for all of our students in August 2020
Earlier this month, health department information suggested that a return to in-person learning for all of our students would be possible. But, the COVID-19 rate in our community has increased since then. Looking at the COVID-19 data listed below, we believe a change to our plans for the start of school is necessary.
As of today, our plans for the start of school are as follows:
First day of school: August 24, 2020
Preschool–5th: All students return to in-person learning with overlapping extensive health and safety protocols in place
6th–12th: Hybrid/blended model of both in-person and remote learning, where students attend school in person with their teachers two days a week with overlapping extensive health and safety protocols in place, and engage in learning remotely from home the other three days. This model allows for greater physical distancing, as only half of the students will be at school at the same time.
This approach is fully aligned with the research and the recommendations of pediatricians and other health experts regarding what is safe for preschool and elementary-age students (who have less risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19) and what is safe for middle and high school students (who are more at risk due to their age).
Please know that these plans for the start of school are subject to change should health department data indicate a change is necessary. Administration will provide an update on August 13, 2020 with the health department data available at that time. We will continue to monitor Arapahoe County COVID-19 data and use it to guide our decisions. The learning model we implement will be directly tied to how well our community responds to the pandemic and is likely to change throughout the fall. We will be ready.
This fall’s remote learning model will be one that is consistent, robust, and engaging for our students. Teachers will receive training through the new online LPS Educator Academies, which will help them implement best practices and provide consistency for students within schools and across the district. Training will be provided for families through the new online LPS Family Academy, which will help family members support their children as they learn at home. These training platforms will be available in early August, and details about how to access them will be provided at that time.
The Temporary Online Program for Students (TOPS) will begin as scheduled on Monday, August 31, 2020. The TOPS registration deadline is Friday, August 7, 2020. The course catalog is now available on the TOPS web page. The schedule will not be affected by COVID-19 data.
As school leaders, one of the biggest challenges we are facing during this pandemic is knowing what kind of learning model we should start the school year in and how we should determine if/when that learning model should change to provide the best learning environment possible while keeping our students and staff safe. It’s critical that our students get a good start to the school year and continue to learn and thrive. To do that, our students and staff must have the best chance possible of staying healthy.
We must rely on information provided by our local public health experts to help guide us in our conversations and decisions.
This new decision-making process uses Arapahoe County’s COVID-19 data as reported by Tri-County Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This process helps us ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, decisions about school both at the start of the year and in the months to come are based on science and facts, not popularity, pressure, perception or politics. This approach to decision-making is endorsed by Dr. John Douglas, executive director of the Tri-County Health Department.
There are four sets of data we will evaluate when making decisions about school:
Percent of positive COVID-19 tests in Arapahoe County: daily and 14-day rolling average
Daily hospitalizations in Arapahoe County
14-day COVID-19 incident rates per 100,000 Arapahoe County residents
Daily new COVID-19 cases in Arapahoe County
View the presentation regarding the decision-making process and our most recent plans for the start of school:
Additionally, review the Restart 2020–2021 presentation that outlines these plans at a high level. A recording of the July 30 Board of Education meeting will be available in coming days.
Students, staff, parents and community members must work together every day to make the start of the school year successful. We will follow the guidance of health officials and will implement the public health and safety measures in place at the time that are shown to limit spread of the virus, such as mask wearing, health screenings, frequent hand washing and maintaining physical distancing to the greatest extent possible.
We all must have patience and must be dedicated to following the safety protocols at every school, every day. It will not be perfect, but please know we are committed to doing our best to keep everyone safe. Our chances to continue and maintain an in-person learning model increase with the successful implementation of safety precautions.
It’s also critical that we all continue to remain flexible and open to change. The circumstances around the pandemic and the return to school this fall seem to change daily.
If a virus outbreak requires the closure of the district, individual schools or affects specific groups of students, we will be ready to serve students in an improved distance learning environment.
LPS will also provide a fully online school program for K-12 and Transition Services students during the 2020-21 school year only as an alternative to attending school in-person.
School Age Child Care (SACC) will resume with the start of school on August 24. Likewise, preschool extended day options that include child care will resume with the start of school on August 24.
We know you have many additional questions and are eager for additional details. School leaders will communicate with families and staff at the beginning of August to outline additional details specific to their schools or programs.