Preschool will return at Durango School District 9-R elementary schools Dec. 1.
9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger said about 220 children are served by 9-R’s preschool program at the elementary schools.
“This is a service we can provide the community,” he said. “I know it’s a difficult time for families, and you really can’t do remote learning with a 3-year-old or a 4-year-old. Hopefully, this will be one small step toward relieving some of the pressure that the closure has caused families.”
After the Thanksgiving holiday, Snowberger also said he hoped the district could start planning to begin a return to in-person learning for elementary-aged students, something recommended by state officials.
“One of the things that’s heavily encouraged by (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) rules is that elementary schools, in particular, continue,” he said. “The threat at an elementary-age level is minimal. And so they recognize how critical it is for elementary-age students to return to schools.”
The district’s Return to Learn Task Force is also working to develop a plan detailing how schools will reopen based on the situation with COVID-19 and an array of health metrics from the community, Snowberger said.
The charge for preschool through 9-R is $550 for a full month and $275 for a half month. However, a sliding scale provides reductions in fees based on family income and other stress factors, such as multiple moves in a short time frame and language impediments – for instance, if English is a family’s second language. Charges are also lowered for families that have children with health issues.
Snowberger said based on an array of factors, preschool charges for the most at-risk families might be completely waived.
This week, 9-R also opened its own child care program for its employees, which is housed at Durango High School. The 9-R child care program is especially helpful for teachers who are leading classes remotely from their homes and who need child care for their infants and toddlers.