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Aspen School District Closed Next Week...At Least

Mar 13, 2020

Credit Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen School District will be closed Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Interim superintendent Tom Heald said in a letter to parents and community members that school principals will meet Friday with staff to go over plans and expectations going forward.

In a letter to staff, Heald said next week will be a complete closure with no online classes.

"Even with every effort, [Aspen School District] is not currently prepared to implement a fully compliant distance learning model on short notice," Heald said. "If educational services are being delivered to students in any form, those services must be provided to all students, including students who don't have access to technology at home and students receiving special education."

Heald said it makes more sense to cancel school altogether than to organize an online model that cannot be accessed equally by students.

If schools had to close down through April, Heald said it would be expected teachers conduct classes online for secondary students and provide a mix of online and written work to elementary students. Heald said since spring break is the week of March 23, the closure will provide district staff two weeks to solidify an online plan. 

Essential staff, including administrative, maintenance, custodial, office and limited kitchen staff, will continue to work in order for payroll to go out and buildings to be cleaned. 

Heald said the district is working providing meals to students in the event of an extended school closure, including kitchen staff preparing lunches and bringing them to student's homes. 

If the spread of COVID-19 were to force Aspen School District to cancel school into April, Heald said they would look into extending the school year.