BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The Boulder Valley School District, like many, is preparing to welcome students back for in person learning. The extent? That depends on COVID numbers come late August.
“Phase five in our plan is 100% back to normal with no health precautions. We don’t believe we’ll be in phase five, we know we won’t be in phase five. So somewhere in-between there is where we’re going to be. So phase one, all online, phase four, 100% of students that elect to come back in person, with health precautions in place,” Rob Price, the Assistant Superintendent of Operational Services for the Boulder Valley School District.
While phase five is likely a very long ways out, another option on the table, in addition to full capacity with restrictions, is half capacity.
“Where 50% of the students are in a couple days a week, the other 50% are online and the one day that we’ll have off, we’ll bring a contractor in to help us clean those buildings,” said Price.
He said during the school year, in addition to contracting cleaning services, the district is also looking at pulling bus drivers and other services workers to help.
For the day-to-day cleaning and the prep-work that’s been happening all summer, the custodial staff have been working overtime.
“Sanitizing, and sanitizing and sanitizing again,” said Enes Mesan, head custodian at Columbine Elementary.
Mesan has been working overtime to get his building clean, but he loves the children. He’s been in custodial services for 23 years and the head custodian for Columbine Elementary for seven years.
“It’s important for the kids, important for the adults… I think for everybody,” he said.
The district has many families who rely on in-person learning. Mesan says the summer drive-up food pantries have been packed. He says school is a place where some of the kids feel safest.
It’s what motivates him to keep working. He wants to see them in class.
Current data for Boulder shows an overall positivity rate of 5.59%, the current five day average is lower, 2.6%.
“We know that in-person learning is a lot more valuable than remote learning so we’re going to do our best to get our buildings open,” said Price.
There has been a dedicated team of people working through the summer to make preparations for students and teachers will come back a week in advance of opening to begin work in the classrooms as well.
Boulder Valley School District will delay the start of the school year by one week. During a school board meeting, members voted to approve a resolution in support of the superintendent’s recommendation to move the school start date from Aug. 19 to Aug. 26.