March 31, 2020
Dear Walsh School District RE-1 Community,
Thank you for all your patience and understanding during this trying time for our school district. As you are aware, Governor Polis issued an Executive Order on March 18 directing all schools to suspend in-person instruction through April 17, 2020, in order to limit the spread of Coronavirus 2019. Additionally, you should be aware that the governor said there is a high possibility in-person instruction will not resume this school year. As a result, changes will be necessary for some important educational functions, such as the number of teacher-pupil instructional hours, special education and graduation requirements.
Waivers for instructional hours
The Colorado Department of Education has waived the minimum number of school days and teacher-pupil instruction hours normally required under state law. Instead, districts must make every effort to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time. For Walsh School District RE-1, this means that we are not expected to extend the school year or start early next year to make up for lost in-person instructional time.
As a result of the possibility of an extended period of disruption on in-person instruction, we will transition to continuous learning through a combination of online and packet-based learning. We are working with staff develop and revise our programs as needed.
Services to students with special needs
Our schools will make every effort to provide appropriate special education and related services for students with disabilities. We have been given some flexibility on how to provide these services, so we are thinking about other ways to meet the needs of students with disabilities based on the nature of a student’s disability and individual needs of the student.
To support students with identified IEP-related services, we will work with our schools to determine whether it is appropriate to provide alternative services or delay services in coordination with students’ parents and IEP teams. We may also determine whether we can make up for a gap in access to the curriculum or delay in services with additional services in the future.
Graduation requirements across Colorado are locally determined by school districts and charter schools. This means that we have flexibility to adjust requirements for the class of 2020 based on this unprecedented time of disruption to our schools. Graduation requirements for Walsh School District RE-1 will remain unchanged, as students are still progressing in their scheduled curriculum through the online and packet-based instructional program we are providing.
We are also looking into alternative options to in-person graduation ceremony for the end of the school year. The governor has suggested that it will be unlikely that we will be able to conduct traditional graduation ceremonies and we want to ensure that our students and families still have a way to mark this important occasion.
Thanks again for your support during these difficult times.
Walsh School District RE-1