Woodland Park RE-2 District Gearing Up For a Return to In-Person, Modified Class Learning

Fate Of RE-2 School Sports Season Still Up In the Air


~ by Trevor Phipps ~

The Woodland Park RE-2 School District has announced plans for in-person learning and an actual return to the classroom scenario during the upcoming Fall 2020 year.

These plans, though, will include online alternatives for parents who are worried about their kids’ safety due to the coronavirus pandemic threat.

The first day of school was pushed back a little until August 25, so that staff could have more time to prepare for the new COVID-19 guidelines that will be in place at least in the fall session.

Last Monday District Superintendent Steve Woolf put out a video on their social media page, describing to parents what their options will be for the school year and introducing the district’s reintegration plan. District officials have been working on the plan for the last several weeks, which includes five different phases of restrictions that will be lowered and raised depending on new information and regulations coming from the Colorado Health Department.

All parents of students attending the school district will have the choice of putting their students in class for in-person learning or choosing from two different distance learning options. One option is that students can learn at home, with live instruction from a teacher or they can participate in a distance learning curriculum that also gives them access to an online teacher.

The phases set up in the integration plan describe the different levels of restrictions, with phase one being no in-person learning sessions (like what took place last spring), and phase five representing a back to normal status quo with no restrictions in place. Currently the school district is in phase two, which allows for a limited amount of in-person learning activities.

According to Woolf, the district plans to start out the 2020 school year with phase three restrictions that does allow classrooms to have students this year, but with strict social distancing guidelines and sanitization procedures in place.  Then, if cases of the novel coronavirus decrease at some point and state regulations end ,the school will slowly work its way to phase four which has some restrictions but less than phase three; and then eventually to phase five in which the district operates in a more traditional manner.

The superintendent said that masks will be required at the schools, and that the classrooms and hallways will be set up according to the state’s social distancing guidelines. However, the schools will not be performing temperature tests on all of their students.

Woolf said that the district will be relying on the student’s parents to make sure that their children do not have a fever, and that they are not exhibiting any of the other COVID-19 symptoms.

Unlike like other school districts, Woolf said that they will not be cancelling passing periods, cafeteria time and efforts to keep students in one classroom all day.

“Some school districts might be doing that, but we are not going to especially for our secondary schools,” the district superintendent said. “We will have shortened passing periods and we will not have as much time in hallways we have to cut that down. But, people are still people and that socialization process is going to happen. So, we are just going to be very careful and make sure things are very clean, there will be social distancing and we are wearing facemasks.”

The superintendent also stressed the importance of pursuing the option in-person class learning. “For a lot of our kids, to be safe and healthy the best opportunity for them is to be at school because there are some homes where that is not a healthy environment,” Woolf said. “So, we are getting them back and no doubt we are going to handle it much differently. But, it definitely won’t be just keeping kids stuck in one classroom all day. We have to get up and move around a bit.”

The superintendent did say that transportation for the upcoming school year is going to be an issue. Due to a shortage in bus drivers and the social distancing regulations required for the buses, the district will be changing their transportation schedule.

Woolf said that middle and high school students will be attending shorter days than elementary school students, so that there are fewer buses required. He also said that the district may not be able to provide transportation to students that live in town, and that they may have to ask the parents to get together and make sure they can get their students to class.

Future of School Sports Remains Unknown

As far school sports, that is still an unknown question.   Woolf did day during his video that the state’s marching band association has canceled all of its events for the 2020 season.

According to District Athletic Director Joe Roskam, the district has still not received a green light from the Colorado High School Sports Association (CHSSA) for the fall sports season. “Right now, we are still kind of up in the air,” Roskam said. “ChSSA has some proposals on the governor’s desk and he is supposed to rule on those. I have a meeting (scheduled), but I don’t think we are going to hear anything for the next couple of weeks as far as what is actually going to happen with sports.”

Roskam did say, though, that the high school football team has still been practicing, but not with the same vigor for this time of year. “We are not in full in full pads.  Some of the teams in Colorado Springs are but I am just trying really hard not to put us in a position to jeopardize our sports season,” Roskam said. “We are trying to do things in a way that we can get some things done but also not put ourselves in a position where we are going to jeopardize our season.”