Hard Decisions For Parents As DPS Reconsiders In-Person Learning For Older Students

Students in 6th-12th grade were set to return to a mix of in-person and online learning on October 21, but changes in overall cases across the county could put that on hold. The potential change leaves parents with mixed feelings.

“Everyone’s situation is different, you really just have to be honest with yourself and know what’s best for your children,” Joanna Rosa-Saenz said.

As Denver Mayor Michael Hancock discussed a growing number of COVID-19 cases on Monday, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova weighed in on the impact to schools.

Rosa-Saenz is a single mother of three boys in the district. Initially she transformed her children’s play area into a classroom to support virtual learning.

“I would love to keep my children home full-time,” she said.

Without any sort of compensation, a return to in-person learning was necessary for Rosa-Saenz.

“I don’t get any other type of help, and I need to work and provide for my children. I had to make that really hard decision,” Rosa-Saenz said.

With Denver’s rising number of COVID-19 cases, the district is having to rethink that option for middle and high school students. Public health officials say that age group might be at a higher risk for transmission.

“Our partners at Denver Public health have asked us to be more cautious of the secondary level,” Superintendent Cordova said.

Dina Puente has two daughters in Denver Public Schools. One in middle school and one in high school. They have their own reasons for wanting to continue to work from home.

“My husband was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April and so he was hospitalized,” Puente said.

She says the experience has made them more cautious and her daughters more understanding about learning online.

“I think the best practice is safety, keeping them home and letting them learn, even if they go back it’s not going to be the same,” she said.

Cordova said she and other district representatives will meet with public health officials to determine the best way to move forward and they will keep parents informed about their plans. Whatever their decision, Cordova said it will be made with the health and safety of everyone in the district at top of mind.

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