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News Release - CDE announces Safe Schools Reopening Grant

Nov. 19, 2020

Commissioner, State Board of Education Chairwoman urge communities to do their part as department releases new funding to support school reopening 

$15 million in one-time funding will help schools struggling to reopen

The Colorado Department of Education today announced a new $15 million grant opportunity for school districts and BOCES that are struggling to return to in-person learning and need additional resources to safely reopen when possible.

Applications for the Safe Schools Reopening Grant may be submitted by districts and BOCES that operate public schools on behalf of any school, including charter schools. Applications are due Nov. 30 and funds must be spent by Dec. 30. Access the application via the CDE website.

Funding for the Safe Schools Reopening Grant comes from federal Coronavirus Relief Funds allocated to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that have not yet been spent. CDPHE redirected funds to support public safety and health of school personnel and students. 

Amidst a long-standing backdrop of teacher shortages in many communities and subject areas, maintaining in-person learning has been a challenge for school leaders with quarantine requirements and other best practices recommended to protect health and safety of students and staff.

According to the most recent statewide estimates from CDE as of Nov. 13, only 44% of elementary students are learning in-person five full days a week, and 22% of middle and high school students are learning in-person.

“I’m pleased that our partners at CDPHE were able to find additional funds to help more schools that are struggling to reopen safely for their students. Our educators have worked incredibly hard to support their students both in classrooms and remotely during this pandemic, but they need help from each member of our community in order to keep students in the classroom, “ said Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “We know that most students, especially young children, learn best when they can be in the classroom with their teachers and classmates.  Collectively, Coloradans must work together to get our students back in the classroom. If we follow the advice of our health and science experts by wearing masks, restricting our social interactions, working from home whenever possible, and remaining six feet apart, we can keep each other healthy and get our students back in the classroom.”

State Board Chairwoman Angelika Schroeder also urged communities to follow advice from health experts so that schools can safely reopen their classrooms for students.  

“This pandemic has been hard on all of us, but I think our youth, in particular, have suffered so much. They are dealing with loss of learning opportunities and social opportunities, loneliness and sometimes heartbreak,” Schroeder said. “Our children need to be in school where they can receive instruction and support from their teachers and other caring adults, but our educators can’t make this happen without help from every Coloradan. Local school districts are working with their local public health agencies to open schools whenever the data shows that it is safe to do so. The State Board of Education urges everyone in Colorado to support their local school districts, students, teachers and students by following the advice of our health experts. If we all do our part, our case numbers will decline and we can get our students back into the classroom.”