Denver Public Schools may push back start date

Paraprofessional Ben Johnson washes of the back window of a bus at the Denver Public Schools Hilltop Terminal November 10, 2017.
Paraprofessional Ben Johnson washes of the back window of a bus at the Denver Public Schools Hilltop Terminal November 10, 2017. (Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Denver Public Schools is considering pushing back the start of the school year until Aug. 24.

The delay would allow more time to plan for the impacts of the coronavirus on the school system and provide relief to students and teachers in schools without air conditioning.

The Denver district has been planning to return to full-time, in-person school, like many Colorado districts, while also offering an online option. Parents have yet to see detailed plans for how school would operate, even as they were asked to tell the district their preference for in-person or online instruction by last Friday.

In an email to parents Wednesday morning, the district said it would release more details next week.

In that email, Superintendent Susana Cordova also said the district was considering moving the start date for most schools from Aug. 17 to Aug. 24. Other Colorado school districts have also pushed back their start dates to allow time for more teacher training related to safety protocols and online instruction.

In Denver, the delay could also provide some relief at the 55 schools that won’t have air conditioning next school year.

Cordova also told parents that the district is monitoring the public health situation carefully and is prepared to change its plans if necessary. Case numbers and hospitalizations are on an upward trend in Colorado, though not nearly to the extent seen in states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona. Gov. Jared Polis said this week that the state still has significant hospital capacity to treat COVID patients.

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