Thousands of Denver metro students out of school at top of fall semester

Posted 10/3/20

Across south Denver metro school districts, thousands were told to quarantine or were otherwise moved to online class in broad dismissals of students following confirmed COVID-19 cases. Nearly half …

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Thousands of Denver metro students out of school at top of fall semester

Posted

Across south Denver metro school districts, thousands were told to quarantine or were otherwise moved to online class in broad dismissals of students following confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Nearly half the student population of one of Colorado's largest high schools was temporarily removed from in-person classes after several Cherry Creek High School seniors tested positive for COVID-19 in cases that were “tied directly to students attending off-campus parties,” according to a Sept. 15 Cherry Creek School District letter to families.

As a result of the outbreak, 14 staff members and 146 students quarantined through Sept. 23.

Though not quarantined, Cherry Creek High's remaining 1,585 students in the affected cohort were moved to online class through Sept. 23. Cherry Creek High includes more than 3,700 students.

Between Aug. 17, when school began in the district, and mid-September, the district told 835 students to quarantine. In that time, 90 staff members had been told to quarantine, and confirmed COVID-19 cases totaled 37 — plus the "several" cases from Creek in the outbreak.

In Littleton Public Schools, between Aug. 24, when in-person learning resumed across the district, and Sept. 25, the district saw 19 quarantines, spurred by 19 positive cases. A cumulative total of 768 students and 103 staff at seven schools had been sent home for two-week quarantines as of Sept. 25, according to district data.

A shortage of substitutes prompted the district to close Heritage High School to in-person learning completely in early September after about a third of the school's teaching staff were quarantined.

Two high schools in Castle Rock switched to virtual learning for two weeks as the school district struggles to maneuver a substitute teacher shortage amid the pandemic.

The Douglas County School District notified both Douglas County High School and Castle View High School that students would learn virtually for two weeks beginning on Sept. 28.

Letters sent to each school community on Sept. 25 said the transition was primarily because the number of positive cases at each school resulted in “quarantines involving a large number of staff members.”

A spokeswoman said approximate enrollment at Douglas County High School is 1,800 students and at Castle View High School is 2,200 students.

Earlier that week, the district also transitioned Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch to virtual learning under similar circumstances. Mountain Vista's enrollment is approximately 2,300. 

— Ellis Arnold

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