As vaccines offer hope for a full return to in-person learning in Colorado, two of the state’s largest school districts have already announced remote learning plans for the 2021-2022 school year. JeffCo Public Schools and the Boulder Valley School District will offer fully online programs for all grades.
BVSD Southwest Area Superintendent Margaret Crespo said they’ve heard from families who enjoyed remote learning this year.
“This is just a great opportunity for us as a district for us to meet kids where they are,” Crespo said.
The remote option may look different, though. JeffCo is planning to expand on an existing virtual program.
“Part of our design principles are trying to limit the dual modality where teachers are facilitating learning for in-person and remote students at the same time," said JeffCo Chief Strategy Officer Tom McDermott.
BVSD is already enrolling K-8 students in a new program called Link. Those students will still be connected to their neighborhood schools for activities and social events, but the actual instruction will be provided by staff from the district’s virtual program Boulder Universal.
“Learning can look so different for some kids with the technology available,” said Boulder Universal Principal Eric Moroye.
Moroye said the district is looking to move away from the terms "synchronous" and "asynchronous" that became part of the lexicon of pandemic learning.
"We need to provide opportunities for students to have live engagement with teachers and adults. There’s just a spectrum for what live engagement can look like," Moroye said.
Not all districts are pursuing a long-term relationship with remote learning. Poudre Valley Schools will abandon the “PSD virtual” program at the end of this school year, but will still let families enroll in a different online program.
BVSD and JeffCo officials also emphasized that they are planning on a full return to in-person learning for every family who wants it.
“(Remote learning) has been really challenging for the vast majority of our families. In-person is clearly the option we think is best for the vast majority of our students," McDermott said.