Moving to Remote Learning after Thanksgiving 2020

Moving to Remote Learning after Thanksgiving 2020
Posted on 11/12/2020
Dear Douglas County School District Families and Staff,

We are continuing to closely monitor COVID-19 data in our community, as well as positive cases and the number of quarantines in our schools. At the DCSD Board Meeting on Tuesday we discussed that data was trending towards a change in Douglas County’s status to Level Orange on the CDPHE COVID-19 Dial. Today, we learned that Douglas County’s status will, in fact, be moved into Level Orange effective Friday, November 13 at 5:00 p.m. This comes with increased restrictions for our community and our schools.

DCSD currently has nearly 5,000 students and staff members in quarantine and 13 schools in remote learning status, and it appears those numbers will continue to rise in the coming days. This is creating a staffing shortage for in-person learning that can no longer be overcome.

As a result, the Douglas County School District has made the difficult decision to move all in-person and hybrid students in grades preschool through 12th grade to remote learning status following Thanksgiving Break (beginning Monday, November 30). DCSD will continue to evaluate the COVID-19 situation during December to make further decisions about the second semester. Currently, the second semester is scheduled to resume Monday, January 4 for staff and Tuesday, January 5 for students. We will continue to keep families updated on our plans for return following Winter Break.

Preschool and Elementary School
  • The DCSD Early Education Office and/or BASE office will provide preschool families with more information about their last day of in-person learning.

  • The last day of in-person learning for DCSD elementary schools will be Thursday, November 19. Friday, November 20 will be a teacher work day (there will be no instruction for in-person/hybrid students).

  • Remote learning will begin on Monday, November 30.

  • *If your child’s preschool/elementary school has already moved to remote learning, it will remain in remote learning status through winter break.

Middle and High School
  • Middle and High Schools will follow their cohort schedule the week of November 16, with Wednesday, November 18 being the last day of in-person learning for Cohort A, and Thursday, November 19 being the last day of in-person learning for Cohort B. Friday, November 20 will be a teacher work day (there will be no instruction for students).
  • Remote learning will begin on Monday, November 30.

  • *If your child’s middle/high school has already moved to remote learning, it will remain in remote learning status through winter break.

eLearning/eDCSD
  • If your child attends DCSD eLearning or eDCSD, please check in with your school directly regarding your student’s learning schedule for Friday, November 20.

Charter Schools
  • If your child attends a DCSD charter school, please check in with that school regarding their current and future status.
Preparing for Remote Learning

Next week, we will send a follow-up communication with more details about what your family can expect in the remote learning platform. In the meantime, the following is some information on how to begin preparing for the transition to remote learning.
  • Personal Belongings, School Work, Supplies, Medication, etc.

    Next week, students should take home school work, supplies, loaner technology devices (if needed), personal belongings from their lockers (if applicable), etc. We ask that parents make arrangements to pick up any medications that their students may have at school, as well as larger personal items such as musical instruments, etc.

  • Technology

    If your student(s) need a technology device for remote learning, please make arrangements with your school or program so that your child can bring the device home prior to Thanksgiving Break. DCSD has access to a limited number of WiFi hotspots for families in need. Click here to submit a request for a hotspot. In addition, many of the major Internet providers are providing access to more affordable internet access for learning devices. We recommend checking in with your internet provider to see how they can help, or visiting https://www.internetessentials.com/covid19

  • Meals Bags During Remote Learning

    Starting Tuesday, December 1, DCSD’s Nutrition Services Department will begin meal bag pickup sites with free meals available to all children ages 18 and under. Meal pick ups will take place every Tuesday and Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. On Tuesdays, children will receive three days' worth of breakfasts and lunches, and on Fridays, children will receive four days' worth of breakfasts and lunches. Click here for a list of pick up locations.
    • There will be no remote meal bag pickups the week of 11/23-11/27 (Thanksgiving Week) or during Winter Break (12/21/20-1/1/21)
    • The last week of school in December, pickups will be 12/15 and 12/17 due to a staff furlough day on 12/18.


  • Full-Day BASE Care (Child Care)

    Full-day BASE programming will be available during the remote learning period. However, due to Douglas County’s Level Orange status availability may be limited. The DCSD BASE program will be sending more information about BASE hours, locations, pricing, as well as health and safety protocols.


  • Athletics and Activities

    CDPHE provided an exception for Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) regulated football, field hockey, and outdoor cheer/dance. As such, DCSD will be finishing out the current high school football season. Spectators at these events must be reduced to no more than 175 people outdoors, with organizers implementing all requirements under outdoor event guidance. DCSD will continue to monitor COVID-19 data and make decisions regarding how to proceed with CHSAA sports scheduled to begin in January 2021.

We want our families to know that our teachers and staff very much wanted to continue with in-person learning. Making the decision to transition to remote learning, yet again, has been absolutely heartbreaking. We know it is better for our students to be in school, in-person, with their peers, and amazing educators. However, the high number of cases and quarantines is creating an environment where many of our students and teachers no longer have a predictable school routine. We have students who are being moved into quarantine at a moment’s notice without a chance to say goodbye to friends. We have students and teachers transitioning back and forth between in-person and remote learning. We have children who are excited to start activities and sports only to have them paused again due to a COVID-19 case. There are times when families are provided notice of a school transition to remote learning the evening before the change takes effect. This lack of predictability is stressful, and unfair to our students, staff, and families.

In addition, each time we have a COVID-19 case reported in a school our nurses, principals, registrars, and others must spend countless hours contact tracing to determine which students may have been in close contact with the infected person. We are simply getting to a point where our phenomenal staff are spending more time contact tracing than on providing students with the public education they need and deserve.

Become a DCSD Substitute Teacher

If we are able to build our pool of substitute teachers, it may help us get students back to hybrid and/or in-person learning after the holidays. The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) recently introduced the 2020-2021 Substitute Authorization program. This path requires applicants to hold only a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent and a fingerprint-based history on file with CDE. This is ideal for college students and graduates, individuals between jobs or considering changing careers, and anyone interested in serving our community and our amazing students with a heart for serving and supporting children! To learn more visit the Substitute Program page of our website, apply online via the CDE’s website, or contact the DCSD Substitute Program Office at suboffice@dcsdk12.org to get started!

New, Interactive COVID-19 Tracker

We have posted an interactive COVID-19 Tracker to our website where families can get a better understanding of the number of cases in our schools. This tracker provides the ability for our families to search COVID-19 data by school level and feeder to see the number of cases and quarantines affecting DCSD schools in your area. In addition, we will continue to post our Decision Dashboard score each week which incorporates DCSD’s COVID-19 data, along with data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Tri-County Health Department.

Our number one priority is always the health and safety of students, staff, families, and community. We acknowledge that this is incredibly sad and frustrating, but thank you for your ongoing partnership in doing everything we can to keep our students and staff safe.

We look forward to providing you with more specific information about the transition to remote learning in the very near future.

Sincerely,

Corey Wise
Interim Superintendent
Douglas County School District

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In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District’s Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, complianceofficer@dcsdk12.org, 303-387-0067. Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.