Salida School District Superintendent David Blackburn said it is unlikely the district will return to in-person classes for the remainder of the school year.
Blackburn and superintendents from across the state met via phone conference Thursday with Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado Department of Education representatives to discuss schools under COVD-19 restrictions.
Blackburn said the state has approved Salida School District’s plan in terms of food dispersal, distance learning and student support.
Blackburn shared the plan in a letter to families Friday.
The district’s first focus is graduating seniors and getting high school students complete credits for the school year. Credits are still functional, and students must engage in learning to complete the year, he said.
All classes will resume for transcript credits Monday for Salida High School students.
“There is increasing flexibility as we move lower in grade levels,” Blackburn said. “Your teacher will email you those expectations on Monday.”
Teachers will answer curriculum questions and classroom-level questions and will forward other questions to building leadership.
“We have never done this style of schoolwide learning, and neither have you, so extend grace and be patient,” said Blackburn. “The first week’s primary goal is to create a short list of barriers we need to overcome to have all students engaged.”
For families who do not have a computer at home, the district will check out a computer for the remainder of the school year.
Families needing a computer who have not received instructions on check-out procedures should call their child’s school.
Parents must sign out any computer, and the process will be carried out curbside.
The district will also need to know any other barriers to a family accessing digital options.
Blackburn stressed the computer loaning program is a limited resource for families who do not have needed tools.
The district office will be open via phone and email from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday starting today.
The goal is a one-day turnaround in communication.
“Do not expect teacher feedback instantaneously on classroom questions, nor building answers. Give us a day. We will get better and more efficient as the weeks go by. We will have to start and finish building the plane while in the air,” said Blackburn. “We are committed that no struggle to figure out this new system will hurt any student’s academic story.”
Blackburn said the meal program will go back into effect today in front of Boys & Girls Club, 709 Palmer St., from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, for the time being.
Once regulations and orders are lifted, the district will look at summer school and other programs to support kids who weren’t successful in distance options.
Blackburn said the district will also find a way to celebrate achievements of graduating seniors.