Aspen schools to go online for week after Thanksgiving break
The Aspen School District will take Thanksgiving week off before its schools use the week of Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 as remote learning.
Superintendent David Baugh made the announcement Friday after in a blast email. The high school already was scheduled to have online class through Dec. 4; now the elementary and middle schools are joining it during that period.
It will mark the elementary school’s first return to online learning since it resumed full-time, in-person instruction Oct. 27. The Cottage preschool will remain open to in-person supervision.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases in Pitkin County is the culprit, as it has been this year, for the shift. Pitkin County is currently in an Orange-plus phase, which places limitations on businesses but keeps the door open to in-person learning.
Baugh’s email, however, said the even though the school’s testing system yielded no positive cases this week, “we are also part of a larger community and we know that people, staff, students and families are traveling over this holiday. For that reason, and to allow many of our staff to exit out of quarantine, the week of November 30 through December 4 will be all remote. While our actual incidence rate is relatively low, our actual quarantining rate is high, which is the nature of schools. This will also allow us to evaluate any changes in the county and community health status.”
The superintendent also asked families to staff to get home by Nov. 29.
“Remote school the week of November 30 is designed to be ‘real’ school,” Baugh’s email said. “Attendance is important as is participation.”
COVID-19 tests will be made available to students and staff Dec. 3.
“We believe that this is the best strategy to achieve low transmission of the virus and keep our learning community safe,” Baugh’s email said. “We realize that remote learning is a hardship, as is education during a pandemic, but we firmly believe that this is the best way to keep the greater learning community safe and get back to in person learning.”
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Today’s question for the Aspen School District Board of Education candidates: For the 2020-21 school year, a safe reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic was the top priority for the board. Now that schools are open and in person, what do you think should be the No. 1 priority of the district moving forward?