Back Together BVSD: Our plan for reintroduction to learning

Back Together BVSD
Carolyn Nohe

Dear Boulder Valley School District Families and Staff,

Thank you for your patience and understanding as our team has worked to develop a comprehensive plan for returning our students back to school this fall. 

We have read your messages, listened to your feedback and, to the extent possible, incorporated it into our preparations for the coming year and the continuing impact of COVID-19.

In this message, we will walk you through the Back Together BVSD reintroduction plan, including:

  • Our greatest hope

  • Our current situation

  • What you can expect from us

  • The 5 Phase Plan

  • Transitioning between phases

Our greatest hope

Over the past couple weeks, several Colorado school districts have announced their plans to return to full in-person instruction this fall. We expect several more to do the same over the next couple of weeks.

Our hope – above all hopes – is that students in BVSD have the opportunity to do the same. 

We cannot wait for students to return to our schools. Our teachers, principals and staff are eager to greet students and to have those wonderful voices in our halls and classrooms again this fall. Our survey results show that our families are also ready and excited to return to in-person learning.

There is no doubt that in-person learning and support is best for most students and that being together with their classmates and caring adults is beneficial to not only their academic, but especially their social-emotional health. We also know that for the economy to get back to normal, parents need to be able to work full-time again – and schools play a crucial role in making that happen.

I want to be clear – If given the opportunity to do it safely, we intend to start school in Phase 4, which would allow for the majority of students to return to in-person learning. In that scenario we would still have health precautions in place and be ready for the potential of outbreaks, but all students would have the opportunity to return to in-person learning if they’re ready and medically-able. For them, things would feel more like they did before the start of the pandemic. 

Students who can’t return or aren’t feeling ready yet, would have the ability to follow along with their class from home using technology or enroll this year in Boulder Universal, without impacting their enrollment for future years.*

*Some restrictions apply. CLICK HERE to learn More about Boulder Universal Special Enrollment

Our current situation


There isn’t any easy answer. As much as we all want certainty — especially as other districts are stating the return to full in-person instruction — the current situation is evolving. We are in regular conversations with our local public health partners, as well as state agencies and other metro area districts. 

In the past week, our partners at the Boulder County Public Health have been tracking what they have called a “significant and concerning” spike in COVID-19 cases. 

In order for us to start the school year in Phase 4, there would need to be adjustments to the current physical distancing requirements. As the state and local health departments revise health requirements to align with the latest data– physical distancing rules remain in effect. How BVSD returns will be based on the situation in our community. As long as six-feet of physical distancing is required, we simply cannot have all students return at the same time. It is physically impossible.

What you can expect from us


We remain committed to doing everything we can to protect the health of our students, advocating for the safe return to in-person learning and continuous communication.

As I have said from the beginning, we rely on the recommendations of public health experts. We remain in a pandemic and must continue to depend on the expertise of our public health partners, who have helped us to flatten the curve and now slowly and carefully lift restrictions, in hopes of getting everything back on track.  

This is a time to be careful, deliberate and prudent.

We are aiming to start in Phase 4, as explained below – but this may change depending on the situation with COVID-19. We will provide regular updates as we approach the start of the school year. 

Additionally, our educators can expect to hear from us more in the next few weeks with additional information.

The 5 Phase Plan

Last night, we presented our Back Together BVSD plan to the Board of Education. As we have shared previously, it is a five-phase plan, which coincides with levels of social-distancing that may be required by the state or local public health departments.
 

Phase 1:  Most restrictive situation, implemented at a single school, multiple schools or entire district during significant community spread or as directed by the state or public health

Phase 2: Groups of 10 or smaller, with enhanced health protocols

Phase 3: Partial return of students, as directed with enhanced and encouraged health protocols

Phase 4: All students may return with encouraged health protocols

Phase 5: No restrictions

As mentioned earlier, in Phases 1-4 students who are not medically-able or do not yet feel comfortable attending school will have the opportunity to learn at home, even as classmates return to in-person learning. Those who wish instruction specifically formulated for online only learning are welcome to enroll at Boulder Universal

Transitioning between phases

In the event of an outbreak or other health concern, BVSD will take immediate action to protect the health of our students and staff. 

In some cases, it may be necessary to return to Home Learning briefly so that preparations for the next phase can be completed in our schools. Transitions between levels may take time since each phase requires different health protocols and modifications to the physical environment. As conditions warrant, schools will communicate transitions between each phase. 

All Together BVSD

Thank you again for your patience, understanding and feedback. If you haven’t already, we encourage parents to participate in our new Let’s Talk forum. We are currently soliciting feedback on a variety of topics, including which day would work best for students and families to participate in home learning while in Phase 3, as well as a survey about whether families plan to return in these phases.

Our next communication is planned for mid-July, which is about one month prior to the start of the school year.

All together we will make it through these challenging times.

 

Sincerely,

Rob Anderson
Superintendent
Boulder Valley School District


 

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