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Amid Extended School Closure, Colorado To Allow Small-Group Instruction In Some Districts

Some Colorado districts are planning to have staff and students return to the classroom in the coming weeks for small-group instruction, even as the governor has extended school closures until the end of the academic year.

An amendment to Colorado’s school closure order makes it clear that this is allowed, with Gov. Jared Polis saying he applauds the innovation. One superintendent described it as a trial run for a fall semester that could look very different from the old normal.

The change comes as Polis has laid out a path for partial reopening of the state, starting Monday, with many non-essential businesses allowed to resume operations provided they can meet social distancing requirements. While schools are officially closed for “normal in-person instruction,” they are also now part of Colorado’s experiment in whether we can restore aspects of our previous lives and still hold the spread of the virus to levels that won’t overwhelm the health care system.

Like workers in other sectors, some teachers have expressed concern about feeling pressured to return before it feels safe to do so, and it’s not clear how many parents would send their children to school while state public health authorities continue to urge everyone to stay home as much as possible — no matter how tired they may be of remote learning.

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