This year, it’s not quite as easy as “A, B, C,” or as simple as “Do, Re, Mi,” despite what the Jackson 5 song might have to say. While the national conversation regarding how, or if, students and teachers can safely return to school during an ongoing pandemic has dominated headlines for weeks, the teachers and administrators of the Telluride R-1 school district have been compiling a nuanced approach to this school year.
The approach, while juggling the constantly changing landscape of the virus and its attendant risk mitigation guidelines, offers a strategy to minimize risk to both students and teachers while providing in-person instruction to younger students and those in prioritized groups such as special education and English Language Learners.
The school year is scheduled to begin Monday, with pre-kindergarten through fifth grades attending classes in-person, with the option for families to choose remote learning. Sixth through twelfth grades will start the school year with remote instruction, though prioritized groups will have in-person classes available.
“While remote learning is a challenge for all, younger children in particular have a harder time,” said Superintendent John Pandolfo. “An additional factor is that research has indicated children 10 and under are less likely to transmit the virus than older children. Also, the nature of classroom structures and schedules is such that grades five and below can be kept in smaller cohorts and each individual cohort has contact with less adults than at higher grades.”