Durango School District 9-R is beginning to explore offering small-group learning sessions and recreational opportunities for some students as summer approaches with COVID-19 restrictions likely to remain in place.
The district looks to make computer labs available to advance-placement students who have been studying all year and are ready to take their exams. Small group sessions are also being examined to help some special education students.
“You know, one of the things that’s really important to us is equity and making sure that we provide equal and equitable opportunities across the district,” Snowberger said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “We do have some students who can take their AP test at home. However, it’s electronic-based, and I know the high school currently is planning on bringing in students who want to take the AP test in a school setting, with school hardware and internet.”
He added: “We’ll be doing so over the next few weeks. We’re continuing to work with parents of special education students on therapeutic needs as well.”
The district is providing online sessions, such as speech therapy and counseling, to some students through Zoom, and it is monitoring COVID-19 restrictions and working with San Juan Basin Public Health on plans to begin offering hands-on therapy sessions, such as physical therapy to students, Snowberger said.
Gov. Jared Polis’ safer-at-home order allows schools to begin offering small-group learning sessions, and the district is working with SJBPH to develop safe plans for the sessions, Snowberger said.
The sessions would be dependent on parents, students and 9-R staff members feeling safe and comfortable to begin the sessions.
“Right now, our staff is very similar to our community. I think we have people in our community who are ready to just get back to normal, and we have people in our community who are really still concerned that it’s too soon,” Snowberger said. “And so we’re continuing to work with that human element of making sure that we create an atmosphere where everyone feels it’s safe.”
The district hopes to finalize plans for small group sessions in the next two weeks, and it’s continuing to survey families and staff members to gauge their interest and comfort level with small group sessions.
The district also is exploring summer recreational programming for children along with the Boys & Girls Club of La Plata County and the city of Durango Parks and Recreation Department.
Snowberger said 9-R has made some facilities open to the Boys & Girls Club during summer for its programming, and the district is exploring opening more of its facilities this summer to accommodate greater spacing needs required for social distancing.
The Durango Educational Foundation also is working with the district and the Boys & Girls Club to provide tutors for the summer recreation program, he said.
The district will also contact families so students can come and clear out their lockers. The district will likely schedule 15-minute blocks for a small number of students to come and clear out their lockers and return textbooks and computer equipment they have borrowed from the school.