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Frequently Asked Questions - Parents/Families
Below are frequently asked questions about the reopening of schools. For district-level or school-level questions, please contact your district.
- Do my children have to attend school in their school building this fall to meet state attendance requirements?
- How will you support students and staff who are unable or uncomfortable to return? Will administrators, teachers and staff who are identified as higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 be forced to enter school buildings?
- How will district and school leaders, teachers and staff know how to limit the spread of COVID-19?
- Will fall and winter sports be offered this year? What about other activities such as band and clubs?
- What precautions are being taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 while students are transported to and from school on school buses?
- Will students take assessments this year?
- Will the PSAT/SAT be offered this year?
- Are districts required to continue to provide services to students with disabilities during a school closure caused by a COVID-19 outbreak?
- How will districts district and school leaders, teachers and staff know how to limit the spread of COVID-19?
Do my children have to attend school in their school building this fall to meet state attendance requirements?
This year there is flexibility in how student attendance is counted to accommodate remote learning. The state has amended the requirements for counting instructional hours for this year only to include remote learning days implemented as a result of public health and safety measures as student contact days. Please check with your district's local requirements.
How will you support students and staff who are unable or uncomfortable to return? Will administrators, teachers and staff who are identified as higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 be forced to enter school buildings?
We do understand that families and teachers are very concerned and that some students and educators are at a higher risk for becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. Ultimately, parents need to do what feels right for them and their children. Check with your local district. Many districts are offering parents the option to continue remote learning if they don't feel safe sending students into school buildings or if they have health concerns. Similarly, in many cases, school employees will have the options to either teach remotely, use larger classroom space to maintain social distancing measures, or explore other options until risks are reduced.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Education released guidance on how schools should operate based on the latest science to protect students and educators. It includes protocols for health screening, mask wearing for all adults and children ages 11 and up, physical distancing and keeping students in cohorts as much as possible. And of course, we will be stressing the basic guidance for washing hands, not coming to school when you are sick and maintaining physical distance. Please check with your local district on its rules and regulations.
Will fall and winter sports be offered this year? What about other activities such as band and clubs?
The Colorado High School Activities Association in August announced the 2020-21 season will be played with a modified sport schedule due to the on-going global pandemic, creating four separate sports seasons during the school year. Due to the restrictive nature of the current state guidelines, and the ability to follow Colorado Department of Education and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment requirements, all contact sports have been moved to a season which will commence later in the calendar, and allow for playoffs and culminating events without creating new conflicts.The modified calendar splits sports into four seasons, concluding in late June: A, B, C and D. Dates and plans for non-athletic activities continue to be formulated.
Each season will be approximately seven weeks from start to finish. Sports will have their regular season competition limits reduced. The postseason for each sport will also be shortened, including the number of state qualifiers. The following 2020 fall sports will begin as originally scheduled: boys golf began practice on Aug. 3, softball and boys tennis is set to begin on Aug. 10, and cross country on Aug. 12. According to the modified calendar, this is Season A.
The remaining traditional fall sports are unable to be played under current state health guidelines. These sports are field hockey, football, gymnastics, boys soccer, spirit, unified bowling and girls volleyball. The sports played this fall will all be concluded by Oct. 17. In anticipation of data from the state which shows a likely resurgence of COVID-19 cases in late fall, there will be a participation moratorium from Oct. 18, 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021.
Sports in Season B will begin on Jan. 4, and conclude by March 6. These sports include: basketball, ice hockey, skiing, spirit, girls swimming and wrestling.
Season C, which begins on March 1 and concludes with championships by May 1, includes the following sports: field hockey, football, gymnastics, boys soccer, unified bowling and girls volleyball. Due to the specific equipment and safety rules around football, that sport will begin practice on Feb. 22, and conclude on May 8.
The 2020-21 calendar will conclude with Season D. Sports include: baseball, girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, girls tennis, boys swimming, track and field and boys volleyball. This season will begin with practice on April 26, and it concludes with the final championship on June 26.
Specific sport modifications, practice requirements, game requirements and procedures can be found on CHSAANow.com.
What precautions are being taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 while students are transported to and from school on school buses?
CDE has compiled resources and recommendations on operating buses safely:
- COVID-19 Transportation Resources and Q & A
- Guidance on Physical Distancing - Buses and Suburban Transportation
- Guidance Regardless of Phase
State assessments (CMAS, PSAT/SAT, and CoAlt) are currently scheduled to resume and be administered in spring 2021. As with so much of what we will be doing this year, assessments may be adjusted in response to COVID-19 conditions. We will update you if administration changes are made to the state assessments in the spring.
For districts and schools choosing to provide the PSAT and SAT:
The Colorado Department of Education has arranged for school districts to offer juniors and seniors the opportunity to take the PSAT and SAT assessments that they missed last spring. Although these tests are not being required for admission to public colleges and universities in Colorado this year, we know that many of our students will still want to take a college entrance assessment as another way, in addition to grades and activities, to demonstrate their accomplishments.
In-school test dates (subject to change): [DISTRICTS/SCHOOLS IDENTIFY THE DATES YOU HAVE CHOSEN]
SAT (for students in 12th grade)
- Primary test date: Wednesday, Sep. 23
- Primary test date: Wednesday, Oct. 14 (added)
- Make-up test date: Tuesday, Oct. 27 (revised)
PSAT (for students in 11th grade)
- Primary test date: Wednesday, Oct. 14
- Alternate test date: Thursday, Oct. 29 (revised)
For districts and schools choosing NOT to provide the PSAT and SAT:
This fall our seniors can take the SAT on one of five available Saturday administration dates at state expense. Seniors choosing to take the SAT on a Saturday must have a voucher in hand when they register. Interested students should contact [insert school contact person] for a voucher and information on how to register to ensure that they are not charged a fee.
Are districts required to continue to provide services to students with disabilities during a school closure caused by a COVID-19 outbreak?
If schools are closed and no educational services are being provided to the general student population, the district would not be required to provide services to students with disabilities during that same time. If in-person learning is suspended and the school continues to provide educational services to the general student population, it must ensure that students with disabilities have access to the same educational opportunities and Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). This means that –to the greatest extent possible– the special education and related services identified in the student’s IEP should be provided. Once in-person learning resumes, the district must make every effort to provide special education and related services consistent with the child’s IEP. In addition, the district would need to make an individualized determination as to whether compensatory services are needed to address regression or loss of skills because of a closure or suspension of in-person learning. CDE recognizes the questions surrounding compensatory education services and will work with both districts and other educational stakeholders to develop more specific guidance as additional information becomes available.
See more questions involving students with disabilities here: http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdesped/special_education_faqs#iep.
Answer: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Education released guidance on how schools should operate based on the latest science to protect students and educators. It includes protocols for health screening, mask wearing for all adults and children ages 11 and up, physical distancing and keeping students in cohorts as much as possible. In addition, CDPHE released guidance for detecting, reporting, and responding to students/staff with COVID-19 and outbreak of COVID-19 in schools. Also, it is important for students and adults to continue washing hands, for students and adults not to come to school when they are sick, maintain physical distance as well as follow any guidance from your Local Public Health Agency.