Sunday, March 29, 2020
Dear Parents of Archuleta School District Students,
I hope you and your children have had a restful and fun time during the past week of Spring Break. I realize for some of you, your plans were short circuited by the current health situation. I guess it’s fortunate we live in a beautiful place that many people only dream of visiting. I for one, am thankful I’m no longer living in a big city and feel like our fresh air and beautiful outdoors somehow makes this a better place to be.
Over the last week, I have been in constant communication with state and local officials, making sure we are as prepared as we can be to engage with you and your children in the coming weeks, to provide the best possible education, in spite of the challenges I know we are all facing. As you may have heard, after we began distance learning on Tuesday, March 17th, Governor Polis on March 18 issued an Executive Order directing all schools to suspend in-person instruction through April 17, 2020, in order to limit the spread of Coronavirus 2019. Additionally, you should be aware that the governor said there is a high possibility in-person instruction will not resume this school year. We will certainly keep you informed as we learn more on this topic.
Waivers for instructional hours
The Colorado Department of Education has waived the minimum number of school days and teacher-pupil instruction hours normally required under state law. Instead, districts must make every effort to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time. For Archuleta School District, this means that we are not expected to extend the school year or start early next year to make up for lost in-person instructional time.
As a result of the possibility of an extended period of disruption to in-person instruction, we have already made the transition to continuous learning through a combination of online and paper/pencil instruction, based upon the age and needs of our students. You should already have received information from your child(ren)’s teachers about this and there will be more forthcoming over the next few days and weeks.
Internet Access Information
While we recognize that not everyone has access to the internet at home, we are working round the clock to determine who those children are and to get their families connected with a way of accessing the internet. There will be more information coming regarding that, as soon as we have definitive information. Also, please check our district website at www.mypagosaschools.com for updates regarding this topic. We are also working on an outdoor access point for internet at Pagosa Springs High School, where you will be able to pull into the parking lot, stay in your car and download information on the Chromebooks that were sent home with your child(ren). This access will ONLY work for students and staff of Pagosa Springs schools and not for the general public.
As I mentioned in a previous message to parents, the state has paused all CMAS testing for the 2019-2020 school year. Also, the latest information I have is that there is a high likelihood that the SAT and PSAT will not be administered this spring for the students who are juniors. This is not finalized yet and I will let you know when it is. There is some discussion about administering in fall 2020, to students who will then be seniors.
Services to students with special needs
Our schools will make every effort to provide appropriate special education and related services for students with disabilities. We have been given some flexibility on how to provide these services, so we are thinking about other ways to meet the needs of students with disabilities based on the nature of a student’s disability and individual needs of the student.
To support students with identified IEP-related services, we will work with our schools to determine whether it is appropriate to provide alternative services or delay services in coordination with students’ parents and IEP teams. We may also determine whether we can make up for a gap in access to the curriculum or delay in services with additional services in the future. Parents of students with current Individual Educational Plans should have already received a letter from Adrea Bogle, Executive Director of San Juan BOCES, who oversees and supports our special education services.
Graduation considerations Graduation requirements across Colorado are locally determined by school districts and charter schools. This means that we have flexibility to adjust requirements for the class of 2020 based on this unprecedented time of disruption to our schools. We are working closely with Pagosa Springs High School administration and parents of seniors will be getting more information in the near future.We are also looking at ways in which we can conduct a meaningful graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 at the end of the school year. At this point, we are not certain what that will look like, due to the requirements that limit the number of people in a public space. Again, there will be more information coming as we get closer to that important time and as more clarity comes from the Governor.