School Closures


Tillie Mendoza, Staff Writer

COVID-19 cases are increasing again in schools located in Colorado, bringing the possibility of school closures across the state.

Freshman student Emma Allen believes the safest option in terms of the virus is to close down schools, but she thinks some people would benefit more from an academic standpoint if they kept learning in person. “I am currently doing school fully online, and I started after they gave us the option to do that,” Allen says, “I think it would be best if others were open to it as well since there are not many people in the building anyway, and it’s safer.”

Allen says converting to online school could be “difficult for a lot of people,” including students who are used to regular school and need support in person. According to her, “A lot of students need extra assistance or their parents have jobs and can’t give them the help they may need at home, so it’s important for them to learn in person.”

She also believes it would be hard for administrators to adjust to the change. “They were trained to do their job in person and to have a one-on-one connection that they do not get online, and I’m sure it would be hard for them to not be able to teach like they usually do.”

The option of online school has already been offered for students at Erie due to positive test results in schools near the Denver metro area. Chana Goussetis of Boulder County Health says the goal is to keep most students attending school in person as long as possible, but closures may be necessary in the future.

Goussetis mentions the effects of the newest outbreaks in Colorado have been prominent so far. “We have an increased number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. A lot of students are quarantined away from school and there are more restrictions on what people can do.” Unfortunately, she believes as winter approaches, dropping temperatures will only result in even more cases for the rest of the year.

“On one hand, if we are just talking about the spread of disease, it would be a lot better if schools closed. On the other hand, the negative impact to students, teachers, families, and to parents who need to work is pretty high.” Goussetis says, “Our goal is to keep schools open for the option of in-person learning as long as possible, because we know the impact is huge.”

In addition to the COVID-19 cases, schools have experienced a shortage of teachers due to quarantine.

“I think that we are probably going to get to the point that we are already seeing in the Boulder Valley School District, that because of quarantine, they do not have enough teachers.” Goussetis says the spread of the virus among students alone may not be enough for schools to close down, however, “It could very well be possible that we have to go remote because there are not enough teachers available.”

A specific time frame that closures would be confirmed has not been set.

“Just like everything else with [COVID-19], we do not really know. So I think students should be prepared that they could go back to online learning, but know that the goal is to stay in school if we can.”

It would be ideal to keep schools open as long as possible, along with the option of online learning available, unless the virus reaches a detrimental point, meaning all students would be learning virtually. However, as for the rest of this semester, it was declared at a school board meeting that it will be completed online.