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WPS Reopening Plan Approved
In a unanimous vote, the Westminster Public Schools Board of Education adopted a plan to reopen schools in mid-August with in-person five-day a week instruction while also offering students the option to enroll in the Westminster K-12 Virtual Academy which will offer a comprehensive, high-quality online education. (Note: this is a different platform than was used in the spring of 2020 during district closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The plan to reopen as “close to normal” as possible includes significant safety measures designed to protect the health and well-being of students and staff.
Nearby Mapleton Public Schools is reopening with a similar program and the two districts will work collaboratively to share best practices and strategies.
The plan, which focuses on biosecurity protocols, will be shared with the Tri-County Health Department and the Colorado Department of Education. A more detailed proposal focusing on education programming and curriculum is being finalized and will be shared when completed.
“This is a thoughtful, methodical reopening plan that strikes a balance between the health concerns posed by COVID-19 and the needs of the community,” said Superintendent Dr. Pamela Swanson. “The data is pretty clear that students across the country suffered academic losses during the shutdown. In addition, many of our families simply cannot afford to stay home from work to be with their children.”
Swanson further explained the decision in a letter to Dr. John Douglas, Executive Director of the Tri-County Health Department:
“Our students, family, and community are under immense socio-emotional and economic pressures as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Schools are one of the most important safety valves in relieving this pressure, only if, we are allowed to open our doors and welcome our students back into the classroom.”
As students return to the classroom, important safety protocols will be in place to limit exposure and transmission of the coronavirus. Among them:
- Students and staff who feel ill are required to STAY HOME.
- In-person temperature checks and health questionnaires will be utilized.
- All students and staff will be required to wear masks or other facial coverings.
- No family members will be allowed past entry.
- Students will be placed in smaller groups with teachers going to the student when possible and/or practicable.
- Social distancing will be observed and practiced to the fullest level possible.
- For instance, class size will vary depending on the situation and bell schedules will be staggered to minimize traffic in the hallway.
- Regular hand washing will be required.
- The number of shared items will be reduced.
- Enhanced cleaning and decontamination.
- Expanded communication at the district and school levels.
To be safe and effective, this reopening plan requires the full cooperation and understanding of students, staff and their families. Because there is no blueprint for dealing with a coronavirus pandemic, this plan provides for significant flexibility.
If a virus outbreak requires the closure of the district or individual schools, the district is prepared to return to its remote Anytime/Anywhere Learning platform that was used in the spring of 2020.
Visit mywps.org/reopening for more information about the plan and to find answers to our frequently asked questions.
Visit mywps.org/virtualacademy to learn more about the new online program.