How Colorado Springs Schools Are Handling Back to School

Here’s an overview of what Colorado Springs public schools are doing to get students back to school during the ongoing pandemic.

Students go back to school in Colorado Springs Harrison School District 2
Elementary students headed back to school in person at Harrison School District Two. Photo courtesy of Harrison School District Two.

Change is the one certainty of back to school this year. Return to learning plans have been fluid as Colorado Springs school administrators have attempted to balance student, teacher and community safety while prioritizing education in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And some local school districts have immediately had to enact backup or alternative plans, at least temporarily, as cases of COVID-19 popped up within school communities. 

Here’s an overview of education plans for Colorado Springs public school districts as classes began. Be sure to check with local districts for any up-to-date changes as back to school rollouts continue.

Academy District 20

Back to School

Preschool and elementary students begin the year with the choice of in-person or online. Middle and high school start in remote, live classes with a plan to transiton to a hybrid model by mid-September.

Instructional Options

High school and middle school options are hybrid, synchronous and 100% online learning. Elementary options are 100% in-person or 100% online learning. Preschool offerings are 100% in-person or 100% online.

Hybrid

    • Students engage in learning both in-person at school and virtually from home.
    • Half of students physically attend school two days a week, alternating virtual learning two days a week. All students participate in virtual learning on Wednesdays.

Synchronous

    • Students remotely attend a live virtual classroom. Students do not attend physical class, but will follow their individual class schedule as if they are attending class via the in-person hybrid option.
    • Academy District 20 curriculum and educators 

100% Online 

    • High school students attend asynchronous classes through Accelerate Online Education in a flexible and independent environment. Middle and elementary school students receive virtual instruction through ASD20 Journey K8 Online Comprehensive School (JK8). Middle and elementary students will have their seat reserved for one school year at their primary school of enrollment.
    • A quarter-long commitment is required.

Elementary In-person

    • Five- day a week, in-person instruction with a two-hour late start on Wednesdays.
    • Students will spend most of the day with their assigned class cohort.

Key Dates

    • Aug. 12: Application deadline for Journey K8 Comprehensive School
    • Aug. 24: “Soft start” of school — some grades may be staggered on their first day of classes.  

Full Details 

asd20.org/return-to-school


Cheyenne Mountain District 12

Back to School

Back to school begins in-person for elementary students (K-6). High school and junior high students begin with live online, instructor-led classes and transition to physical in-person classes Sept. 10. 

Instructional Options 

Full-Time Cheyenne Mountain 

    • District instructors and curriculum. 
    • High school and middle school students follow blended in-person and remote instruction on alternating days, following local health and safety guidelines.
    • Elementary students (K-6) attend in-person classes five days a week.

Full-Time Online

    • Full-time online with Colorado Digital Learning Solutions (CDLS), the State of Colorado’s authorized supplemental course provider, as a Cheyenne Mountain student.
    • CDLS instructors and curriculum.
    • Enrollment expected for entire semester.

Hybrid Schedule

    • Combination of district courses and a minimum of CDLS online courses.

Key Dates

    • Aug. 20: Registration deadline for full-time online learning with CDLS
    • Aug. 24-25: In-person orientation for K-12 students
    • Aug. 26: First day of in-person learning for students in grades K-6. First day of remote learning for students in grades 7-12.
    • Sept. 8-9: In-person, small group orientation to in-person/blended learning for junior high and high school.
    • Sept. 10: First day of in-person/blended learning for junior high and high school.

Full Details

cmsd12.org


Colorado Springs District 11

Back to School

Classes begin using the hybrid model described below.

Instructional Options

Hybrid Model

For the first quarter, the district will use a hybrid model, with most elementary through high school students engaged through the remote learning platform Inspire Online. Students with the greatest academic needs will receive levels of in-school support; this includes students receiving special education support, English Language Learners, TITLE/Read Act supported students, and preschool students (who, under current guidance, are classified as essential childcare). By Oct. 15, the district planned to review current health data and district readiness to invite all students back in person for the second quarter. However, it has announced that it will discuss potential plans for students’ earlier, full in-person return at the Board of Education’s Sept. 9 meeting. 

Remote Learning 

    • Inspire Online instruction. Students will be enrolled in this program by default. 
    • Devices will be provided to all students, PreK-12, to access learning resources. 
    • Through Inspire Online, teachers may use a variety of methods including WebEx and recorded sessions. This infographic explains Inspire Online, but note that details regarding enrollment may not be relevant since all students in District 11 are participating in the program by default. 

Key Dates

    • Aug. 24: School start
    • Oct. 15: The Hybrid model will be reassessed after the first quarter of the school year. Parents and student can choose to continue online learning regardless of in-person or hybrid decisions that are made. 

Full Details

d11.org/ReturntoLearn


Falcon District 49

Back to School

District 49 begins the school year primarily with remote learning and plans to transition to in-person learning on a staggered schedule after Labor Day. In-person, small group learning sessions will provide extra services and support to students who need them.

Instructional Options

Remote Learning

    • Remote learning will be conducted via district teachers who will be available through email or other spaces such as Google Classroom and Schoology.

In-Person Learning

    • Elementary students (K-5) will return to full-schedule learning in physical classrooms.
    • Middle and high school students return to in-person classes on a block schedule with an alphabetical cohort one day each week. They will attend classes online three more days a week. Fridays will remain a flex day for in-person and online support, intervention, tutoring and individualized student services.

Key Dates

    • Aug. 17: School starts
    • Sept. 8: Anticipated return for to in-person instruction for students in grades PreK-2.
    • Sept. 14: Anticipated return for third-fifth-grade students, as well as middle and high school students.

Full Details

d49.org


Fountain-Fort Carson District 8

Back to School

Back to school begins with in-person learning for elementary school students, Pre-K-5). Middle and high school students begin online with a plan to return to physical classrooms and a hybrid learning plan on Sept. 15. Full online learning is offered for students opting into the program. 

Instructional Options

Hybrid

    • The hybrid learning model will provide a mix of remote and in-person, instructor-led activities and classes. 
    • Students will alternate days between physical classes and remote learning, while using programs like Schoology to interact with teachers and other students. Digital instruction is provided by the in-person teachers from each student’s home school.

Full Online

    • Full online instruction will be conducted via the Fountain-Fort Carson Virtual Academy (FFCVA).
    • Provided through a student’s D8 home school, this is a self-directed learning option that allows for more fluidity by the student and less scheduled direction than the remote/hybrid learning option.

Key Dates

    • Aug. 17: School start
    • Aug. 21: Online virtual academy orientation
    • Sept. 4: Deadline to enroll for FFCVA
    • Sept. 15: Anticipated return of secondary students
    • Jan. 27, 2021 Virtual Academy Registration Closes (Spring Semester)

Full Details

ffc8.org/reopening2020


Harrison District 2

Back to School

Elementary students, grades K-5, will begin the year with in-person learning. Middle and high school students, grades 6-12, begin with remote learning wtih plans to return to a hybrid model of in-person learning and remote learning.

Instructional Options

In-Person Hybrid

    • Original plans to return to full-time in-person learning have been changed to a hybrid model of weekly classes alternating between remote and in-person in smaller student cohorts.

eLearning

    • Remote elearning will be administered through Canvas and live streamed Language Arts and Math classes. Devices and internet assistance will be provided to students. Learners will receive instruction from teachers in the school they would have attended.
    • This e-learning option can be chosen in full for families who prefer their child stay home even if the district begins to re-open for in-person instruction in the fall. Families can choose to return to in-person learning at any point during the school year.

Key Dates

    • Aug. 17: First Day of school
    • Sept. 8: Anticipated return to hybrid instruction

Full Details

hsd2.org


Lewis-Palmer District 38

Back to School

Back to school begins in-person for elementary, middle and high school students. In person and remote 

Instructional Options

In-person 

    • All classes will begin in-person instruction. COVID-19 protocols will be in place, including mandatory masks, temperature screenings, and 6-feet social distancing. 

Online

    • Elementary full-time online programming is available through the Lewis-Palmer School District Elementary Online Program (LPSDEOP). Classes are asynchronous, available 24/7 and taught by accredited Colorado teachers. Enrollment is still available for elementary students. 

Hybrid

    • High school students can choose an in-person/online hybrid option.

Key Dates

    • Aug. 19: Return to in-person classes for all students

Full Details

lewispalmer.org


Manitou Springs District 14

Back to School

All students begin the school year in a hybrid in-person and at-home model. The district will reassess plans to return to full in-person learning in two to four weeks. 

Instructional Options

Transitional Hybrid model 

    • Combination of in-person and at-home learning 
    • Students attend in cohort groupings on different days of the week, reducing the school’s capacity by 50%.
    • Canvas will be used as the learning management system to facilitate the in-person and remote hybrid environment. 

Full Online 

    • Online instruction will be through FuelEd.
    • Instructors are not District 14 staff members, but your student will be enrolled as an MSSD student.

Key Dates

    • Aug. 11: Deadline for online enrollment for FuelEd fall (one semester commitment)
    • Aug. 21: School start
    • Dec. 4: Deadline for online enrollment for FuelEd spring (one semester commitment) 

Full Details

mssd14.org


Widefield District 3

Back to School

The district is undertaking a phased approach to reopening. Elementary students, grades Pre-K-5, will attend in-person classes. Middle and high school, grades 6-12, will begin in a distance learning model with hopes to transition to a hybrid model.

Instructional Options

In-Person 

    • Grades Pre-K-5 will attend in-person class with a phased re-opening. 

Hybrid Learning 

    • District plans are to transition all middle and high school students to a hybrid model in mid-September. Students will attend in-person classes two days per-week or more, alternating remote learning opportunities. 
    • Distance learning will be organized by individuals teachers through systems like Google Classroom.

Fully Online

    • A fully remote option is available. Those wishing to engage in an online format for a full semester can enroll in D3 My Way , which uses Accelerate Education curriculum. 

Key Dates

    • Aug. 24: School Start
    • Aug. 28: D3 My Way Enrollment Deadline
    • Sept. 15: Tentative start date for hybrid learning grades 6-12.

Full Details

wsd3.org/fall-plans


Read More

Guide to Schools in Colorado Springs

Q&A: UCCS Chancellor Venkat Reddy

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