Planning to open with in-person learning
Poudre School District is currently planning on opening the 2021-22 school year with in-person learning for all K-12 students five days a week and four days a week for preschoolers. We have seen firsthand the benefits of students, teachers and staff being back together in school and still believe that is what’s best for kids. Although some aspects of school are different because of health protocols, much has remained the same: the smiles and laughter, the deep connections, conversations and learning, and the staff support of students and families.
Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) Director Tom Gonzales continues to support in-person learning, saying that students are safest in school where there are consistent health protocols to minimize the spread of COVID-19. This sentiment is bolstered by the increasing numbers of adults and eligible teenagers who are being vaccinated, a step that health officials predict will reduce cases in Larimer County.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why announce in April what will happen with the start of school next year, knowing so much can change in the next few months?
The purpose in communicating our current intention to start the 2021-22 school year in Phase 4 in-person learning is to give parents/guardians, staff, students and our community members the most up-to-date information we have as they plan for fall 2021. Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, we cannot promise anything with 100 percent certainty; however, we feel confident in sharing this intention both because it is how we are operating now and given our community’s continued success with adult and eligible teenager vaccinations, among other factors.
What is the first day of school for the 2021-22 school year? Is the school calendar available?
Aug. 13 is a transition day for sixth- and ninth-grade students, and all students start school on Aug. 16.
School calendars are available on the PSD Calendars web page.
What is PSD doing to support students who are behind academically?
There are myriad ways that teachers and staff support students and address their individual learning needs every day in PSD. In particular, PSD has enhanced its typical summer programming to serve more students and in additional ways. In addition to historic programs like Camp SOL, PSD will offer multiple new programs like the invitation-only Connect and Engage. This is for elementary and middle schoolers to engage in one-to-one or small-group tutoring sessions for literacy and math skills they’ll need as they progress through school. There are also things like the Summer of Discovery with Boys & Girls Club. During this full-day, full-summer experience, students will explore different industries each week through experiential learning, including an interdisciplinary approach to literacy and math. In another opportunity, PSD students will be partnered with community mentors to support their completion of Summer School classes.
Registration for Poudre School District Summer School is open to all high school students currently enrolled in a PSD school. Summer school classes are free this year.
For more information, visit the Summer 2021 Learning Opportunities web page >>
Will there be activities, extracurricular activities and athletics in the 2021-22 school year?
Yes. We are eager to make these opportunities available, and you can expect schools to share more details in the future about what will be offered at each site. Providing places for students to connect and engage with one another are critical, and we think they’ll have more opportunities to do next year, particularly at recess and through other outside activities.
What are my options if I am not comfortable with sending my student to school for in-person learning this fall?
Poudre Global Academy Virtual will replace Poudre School District Virtual (PSDV), the district’s current 100% online option that ends this school year. PGA Virtual is part of PSD’s existing Poudre Global Academy, which has an existing hybrid option and a new 100% online option. Families may apply until the first day of school, during the School of Choice second-consideration application period.
Will PSD return to full (approximately 13,000) busing for the 2021-22 school year?
PSD is anticipating an increase in ridership in 2021-22, compared with the current year, with some possible limitations because of a reduction in routes due to the ongoing bus driver shortage. That said, we do not have a specific number of riders that PSD will bus in 2021-22. The district will likely require that all riders apply and will share more information when it is available. The district is not planning to provide School of Choice or alternate busing next school year.
Updates will be posted on the Transportation web page >>
What is the plan for meals in 2021-22?
We will share more information soon about meals in the 2021-22 school year. We encourage families to apply for free or reduced-price meals - being approved means additional benefits for you and your school.
More info on the school meals page >>
What support will PSD provide for the social and emotional needs of students?
In the 2021-22 school year, PSD will continue to support students and families with services and resources to address their social and emotional needs.
During the 2020-21 school year, PSD’s mental health professionals, counselors and other special service providers, or SSPs, (think psychologists, etc.) worked together to tailor the support for students and their families throughout COVID-19.
Prior to the pandemic, for example, they might have checked in with a student by tapping them on the shoulder while passing through the lunchroom and asking how they’re doing. During remote learning, they connected via video calls, instant messaging, texts and phone calls – whatever worked best for the student and, in some cases their parents/guardians, depending on their unique needs and schedules at the time. This has, in many ways, reduced barriers for people to access these critical resources.
Counselors and mental health professionals produced videos that helped students with different skills or featured lessons based on what they were hearing their students needed most at the time; they sent postcards to students at home; and so much more. With school back in session, they have been able to combine both the virtual and in-person mental and social emotional health supports.
In Phase 4, the focus will continue to be on what each child needs, one by one, and helping students, staff and families to regain a healthy body-and-mind balance that was thrown off for so many in the pandemic. It is very much a return to counseling and mental health 101, focusing on each person’s most immediate needs so they can rebalance and be able to best access and engage at school.
Although it has been challenging, people are rising to the occasion, finding new ways to connect, process and support one another. We have witnessed tremendous resilience and positives come out of all this, as well. PSD remains committed to providing this critical support in the 2021-22 school year.
Check out mental health resources here >>
Health and Safety Protocols
Will the current health and safety protocols be in place this summer and fall? Or will PSD return to pre-pandemic “normalcy?”
PSD will continue existing health and safety protocols through at least the summer. We anticipate that protocols may change in the coming months, based on COVID-19 conditions in Larimer County. The hope is that protocols become less restrictive in time. It is possible that PSD and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) will continue contact tracing COVID-19 cases during the 2021-22 school year, prompting shifts to remote education. PSD will continue to follow current protocols, including the requirement that staff and students wear masks, through the end of this school year and during summer programming. Masks are also required through the end of May, under the LCDHE’s April 16 order.
Will masks be required next school year?
We are planning currently that health protocols will be in place this fall for the safety of our students and staff. That said, it is too soon to say if or how our current protocols may change in the coming months, depending on future community health conditions. We will keep our community updated in the months ahead.
Will PSD still conduct contact tracing and work with the health department to quarantine close contacts next school year?
We anticipate that protocols may change in the future, based on COVID-19 conditions in Larimer County. The hope is that protocols become less restrictive in time. That said, it is too soon to say if or how our current protocols may change in the coming months, depending on future community health conditions. This includes PSD’s current protocols for responding to COVID-19 cases and contact tracing. PSD staff will evaluate the COVID-19-related prevention and response work done throughout the 2020-21 school year to identify areas of success and possible improvement. As has been done throughout the pandemic, PSD will work closely with its partners at the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment to evaluate and plan for the school year to come.
We know that cases and quarantines have disrupted in-person learning during the 2020-21 school year and appreciate our community’s patience and support as we have worked to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In contrast there are an average of about 97% of our students who have access to in-person learning each day during Phase 4 learning, and we continue to see the benefits of students and staff together.