Friday is the last day for Denver Public Schools families to choose the district’s remote learning option for the 2021-2022 school year.
DPS is offering a centrally run program for elementary school students, while middle and high school students will be enrolled in the Denver Online program.
DPS is hoping most students will choose to attend school in person, but many school districts in Colorado decided to offer remote options for families who are concerned about COVID-19, or who found other benefits to learning from home.
JeffCo Public schools says 740 students have enrolled in JeffCo's remote learning program for the 2021-2022 school year. The district is also hiring about 50 teachers specifically for online learning. In the Douglas County School District, as of mid-May, 424 students intended to enroll in the remote learning option.
Dan Morris, director of Colorado Digital Learning Solutions (CDLS), said a lot of families like the flexibility online learning offers.
CDLS provides supplemental online courses for students in any district, as long as the district approves the credits. Students can take core classes, electives, and advanced placement courses online with certified teachers.
“We strongly believe that online can be a supplement and can support parents and kids no matter what school they're in,” Morris said.
Not all school districts nationwide have embraced remote learning. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced New York Public Schools would not offer a remote option for the 2021-2022 school year.
“I think districts that are shutting down all remote learning may be overreacting to the negative experience that many students had,” Morris said.
It’s not clear if districts in Colorado will continue to offer their own remote options after the 2021-2022 school year, but Morris said he hopes students will take advantage of other programs to meet their educational needs. He pointed out that many students in rural districts in Colorado have been taking advantage of CDLS courses well before the pandemic.
“I think we are going to have to look at how we structure our environment, how we fund our schools, but I think it's going to provide great opportunities for our kids going forward,” he said.