Update on preparations for shift to Phase 3

Translations:  Español - Phase 3 Update   |     عربي - Phase 3 Update


Dear PSD families,  

I know you are all adjusting to new schedules, new expectations and a variety of challenges as your families prepare for the district’s shift to Phase 3 hybrid learning in October. Things have been difficult for many of our families over these past several months, and I have heard from you about what it’s taken to support the kids in your lives and get to where you are today. PSD is fortunate to have such supportive families who love their children and want them to be safe as we slowly move toward bringing students back into our schools.   

The challenge before us is considerable. None of us have experienced school in the way we soon will. As parents, you can help us by encouraging and reinforcing that it's important for students to maintain their distance from others while navigating hallways, wear their mask, wash their hands and follow other new health protocols. It will also be important to trust each other and to show grace during those first days back. There will be challenges faced by students, staff, and families that we have never encountered in the school environment, and it will require a strong collaboration between school and home to make it work successfully. I am confident in our staff and their judgement. I know how hard they are working in preparation for this next step, and you should know that your children are in great hands. 

Remember: We are figuring all of this out together. 

As I explained last week, we will keep a close eye on the impact of this decision on our schools and community. It is likely that we will adjust as we move forward – including the possibility that groups of students will be moved back to Phase 1 virtual-only education should we have to quarantine groups, classes, or schools. Our school leaders are well prepared to respond to these possible adjustments and will be creating schedules and processes that support student safety in every possible way. 

Please let us know how things are going for your family and, specifically, your students. As for now, here is some more information about what to expect when students shift to Phase 3. 

Elementary plan 

  • As a reminder, K-2 students are in Phase 3: Hybrid In-person, Remote Education the weeks of Oct. 5 and 12; starting Oct. 19, grades K-5 will be in Phase 3. 

  • Teachers are meeting head-on the challenge of delivering high-quality remote instruction while also preparing for in-person instruction.  

  • Principals and teachers are communicating and clarifying instructional expectations as this shift occurs. 

  • Teachers will have students use remote learning time to support and extend in-person learning. There may be independent practice, previewing of materials, and independent project work on remote learning days.  

  • Teachers will have daily class meetings to connect with students and check in with remote learners. 

  • Teams are preparing schools, setting up classrooms to support social distancing, designing student drop-off and pick-up processes, planning for frequent hand washing and much more. Although not exhaustive in nature, the video below gives families a sense of what they can expect to see at our elementary schools. 

Secondary plan 

We are happy to be able to provide this update sooner than the week of Sept. 28, as originally communicated. Thank you, to our secondary students and families, for your patience. Secondary schools have more students and, often, larger buildings, so it takes more time to shift and implement plans.  

PSD middle schools and the four comprehensive high schools will return to in-person learning in a Phase 3 hybrid model Oct. 19.

  • Oct. 19 and 20 will be in-person transition days for sixth- and ninth-grade students
  • All other grades will be in remote education Oct. 19-20, and start in-person learning in Phase 3 Oct. 21. 

In a Phase 3 model, the weekly schedule will look like this for secondary students at all grade levels (6-12):  

  • "A group" attends school Mondays and Wednesdays (full days) with remote learning Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. 

  • "B group" attends school Tuesdays and Thursdays (full days) with remote learning Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

  • Fridays are Teacher Collaboration Days - all students in remote learning


PSD alternative high schools 

  • Poudre Community Academy and Polaris Expeditionary Learning School will start Phase 3, with A group attending in-person Oct. 19 and B group in remote education. 

  • Poudre Global Academy will begin hybrid learning the week of Oct. 19, and you can expect more detailed communication from the school. 

  • Centennial High School students will start the third hexter Nov. 11, in Phase 3 and families can expect more detailed communication from the school. 


On their in-person school days, students at all schools will have the option to receive breakfast and lunch. There will be a hot breakfast meal to be eaten that day, and students can choose to receive a second, non-perishable breakfast for the following morning. Depending on their school, elementary students will either pick up meals and eat them in the cafeteria or outside, or staff will deliver sack meals to the classroom. Secondary students will pick up meals and eat in the cafeteria, designated common spaces or outside. Students can also opt to bring their own lunches. 

  • Free breakfasts and lunches will continue to be available to all students (18 years and under) through December, thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s reimbursement program. 

  • PSD’s current meal distribution sites (18 schools and mobile serving locations at which meals are distributed from buses) will operate through Wednesday, Sept. 30. 

  • A transition in services will occur thereafter. From Thursday, Oct. 1-Friday, Oct. 9., meals will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside at only the 18 school sites. PSD's currently operated mobile sites will close as bus drivers transition to bussing students in Phase 3. 

  • In order to balance needs across the district with a transition to Phase 3, on Monday, Oct. 12, PSD will open meal distribution sites outside at Webber Middle School, Kinard Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, Boltz Middle School and Eyestone Elementary. They will be open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on scheduled school days.  

  • Only students doing in-person learning that day will get meals at their schools. On their remote days, students can pick up meals at one the five school distribution sites listed above. 

  • Plans for meal distribution to Mountain Schools are underway and more will be communicated directly with those families as soon as possible. 



In alignment with the district’s 2020-21 school year planning, PSD will bus students for whom transportation is legally required, as well as many students who applied for and are approved for bussing. Those who applied but live within walking distance of their school or applied to a PSD school of choice are not eligible. PSD instituted a transportation registration process this school year because current public health guidance significantly limits the number of students on each bus. 

  • The Transportation Department will start communicating routes to families approved for transportation the week of Sept. 28. It is likely that communication will start with K-2 families only, as grades K-2 start in Phase 3 on Oct. 5, followed by families with students in grades 3-5 and secondary students.  

  • Seating will be limited to one rider per seat; two can ride on one seat if both riders are from the same household, to follow public health guidance.  

  • Face coverings will be required for all drivers/riders to board the bus.  

  • All buses will be disinfected at least twice daily. 


Health and safety  

District protocols will be in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, in accordance with state and county public health department guidance for schools. PSD will update protocols as guidance changes. 

  • We expect all students, staff and families to follow all health and safety protocols, guidelines and procedures this school year to keep everyone as safe as possible.  

  • Visit the Health and Safety web page for more on the 3 W’s (wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands), cleaning and sanitizing of schools, and more.  

  • We anticipate there will be outbreaks in PSD that will lead to quarantines of classrooms, school closures and shifts back to Phase 1 – Remote education – likely with little notice. Visit this web page to learn more about state and county guidance for what happens when there is a COVID-19 case or outbreak in PSD and review the district’s protocols for students and staff. Please be aware, current state public health guidance requires the quarantine of an entire classroom due to one confirmed positive case.  




Sandra Smyser, Ph.D.