Dear BVSD Families and Staff,
As you may have heard, today Colorado Governor Jared Polis held a press conference and announced plans to begin reopening the state, following the current Stay at Home orders. Schools will not be reopening as part of these initial efforts.
The next stage, which is expected to begin towards the end of this month, is called “Safer at Home.” While the governor is allowing business to resume, he is still encouraging anyone who can, including our students and staff, to stay home to limit the spread of COVID-19. While the governor has not put an end date on this phase, it is clear that social distancing restrictions will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.
Knowing there are only five weeks left in school, in consultation with our partners in public health, Boulder County Public Health and Broomfield Public Health and Environment, BVSD has decided to continue Home Learning through the end of the current 2019-2020 School Year and the 2020 Summer Learning program.
While this decision is difficult, we believe that it provides a level of certainty in an uncertain time, allowing everyone including our families, teachers and schools -- to plan accordingly.
Thankfully this will not change much. Due to the monumental efforts of our educators and the tremendous support of parents at home, remote learning has successfully launched and will continue through the end of the normal academic calendar.
Our number one priority is protecting the health and wellness of our students, but we know this decision will not please everyone. While we have received many emails encouraging the district to take this action, I know some families, especially those with working parents, may be frustrated because they are struggling to balance the demands of their own work and family life with supervising and supporting Home Learning. Others may be disappointed because they too were holding out hope that things would begin to return to normal and schools would reopen, allowing school communities to reunite in person.
We all are grieving for the important social connections school provides, as well as the impact on end-of-year traditions. We all will be looking forward to a day when we are able to reopen our buildings, but until then I know our schools will be working to make this time memorable and fun for all students, especially those who are celebrating special milestones.
I once again want to reaffirm our commitment to the Class of 2020. We will hold graduation ceremonies this year.
While there is no doubt the ceremonies will feel and look different– knowing that it will likely involve social distancing measures and masks – we will celebrate the achievements of our graduating seniors and ensure everyone can participate.
We have tentatively scheduled graduations for the week of July 20*:
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Our hope is that by waiting until mid-summer, restrictions will be loosened enough to allow for in-person ceremonies, again shaped by the feedback from our public health experts and each school’s community.*If you don’t see your school, contact your school administrator.
To that end, between May 1 and 15 each high school principal will host a listening session with seniors and their families to discuss graduation and other efforts to honor them. Look for an invitation from your school soon.
After these meetings, we will provide an update to the entire community about graduation ceremonies.
BVSD will not resume spring sport seasons.
Athletic participation fee refunds for high school spring sports and middle school soccer and track will be processed by Friday, May 1. The refunds will be processed in the form they were originally paid, i.e. to your credit card or via check for check or cash payments. If you have questions regarding your refund, please contact your school’s main office on or after April 27th.
Personal Belongings and Medications
Now that the decision has been made to close school buildings through the end of the academic year, we understand that students and staff will want to pick up their personal belongings and medications. We will be providing this opportunity before the end of the school year, starting the week of May 11. Please wait for communication to come directly from your school which will outline the process and your specific schedule on when belongings can be picked up. If you need to pick up a medication before the scheduled day at your child’s school, please contact your school nurse, they will assist you.
Additional support for students who need it
While BVSD educators have done an amazing job transitioning to home learning, we want to prepare for the fact that some students may end this school year behind where we would ideally want them to be academically. To provide as much support to our students as we can, we will be implementing the following plan to assess where students are in their learning and provide appropriate supports this summer and next fall.
Summer school will take place virtually from June 8 - July 16. Instead of having a STEM curriculum, it will focus on intervention in literacy and mathematics. Instruction will be structured in a small group format with varying amounts of instruction occurring between 8am and 12pm based on the amount of individual intervention needed to help students catch up before the start of next school year.
Extended School Year
ESY will also occur virtually during the same general time frame, with specific individualized decisions made for students through their IEP teams.
Food Service continuing into July
BVSD’s Emergency Feeding Program will continue to provide food bags for our families until July 16th on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. We will continue to utilize the following schools as distribution sites: Columbine, Sanchez, Crestview, University Hill, Louisville Middle School, Emerald and Nederland Middle Senior.
Help Support the Good Work
We need your help to continue supporting our most vulnerable families. If you have the means during this difficult time, consider making a contribution to Impact on Education’s Critical Needs Fund. To date they have been able to provide:
Tens of thousands of dollars to support the food distribution efforts
More than $25,000 in grocery gift cards to families in need to supplement the food resources they’re receiving. These can be used for personal care products, cleaning products, additional food and other necessities
More than 2,000 backpacks to students across the district filled with the basic tools – paper, pencils, crayons, erasers, calculators, work packets and more
More than $10,000 in age appropriate books to families
Funding to support internet access for hundreds of families who weren’t online just a few weeks ago
Together We Soar
This past Saturday, like many of you, my family and I stood in our front yard to watch the Thunderbirds fly over Boulder Valley and the rest of the Front Range. Like the nightly howling at 8 p.m. and the tremendous giving to Impact on Education – it was a reminder that we remain united as a community, even if we are separated by the quarantine in our homes or by at least six feet and masks when we are out and about.
I am proud to be part of a community that has shown incredible generosity, neighborly love and a commitment to doing what is best for our most vulnerable populations. Thank you to everyone for continuing to stay home. Thank you to our health care workers and all of the essential workers in the Boulder Valley School District and beyond, who are helping to care for our community during this challenging time.
Boulder Valley School District