By Alan Gionet

DENVER (CBS4) – As many school districts return to remote learning, Gov. Jared Polis is set to meet with a group of education executives from around the state who are frustrated with how things are going. They’re asking him to consider changes to guidelines that would allow them to return to in-person learning and help them operate during the pandemic.

(credit: CBS)

Polis has been vocal about the importance of in-person learning during the pandemic. Under current Level Red restrictions, teachers and students must have a negative COVID-19 test, and an alternative diagnosis from a doctor if they test negative for COVID-19, before coming back to class. Educators are asking the governor to reconsider those rules.

“Getting children back into the school starts with giving parents the choice to do what’s best for their family,” said Brighton 27J Schools parent and School Board Member, Mary Vigil. “In-person learning allows that teacher student communication that you just can’t replicate online”

Brighton 27J Schools Superintendent Chris Fiedler is part of the Colorado Association of School Executives. They’ve requested a meeting with Polis to talk about changing current quarantine guidelines.

“We opened on time here at 27J, and we just finished with kids in-person Friday,” Fiedler said. “We had a long run, a successful run, having kids in-person, and the current quarantine requirements just make it really difficult to stay open around having enough staff to run our buildings.”

Fiedler says there’s only been one known case of COVID-19 transmission between two adults at a 27J school.

“We know there’s no substitute for in-person learning, that’s my view,” Fiedler said. “That’s the view of my colleagues, and based on the governor’s comments on Tuesday, he feels that way, too. He feels that it’s safe, so we just need the quarantine requirement to match that desire.”

Brighton 27J educators and families hope Polis hears their message loud and clear.

“The teachers, the superintendents, and the staff are the experts in the field,” Vigil said. “I would hope Gov. Polis would listen to the experts that are sitting in front of him, and take their thoughts under advisement, while still keeping the community safe.”

The virtual meeting between the Colorado Association of School Executives and the governor is Tuesday morning. Brighton 27J’s Superintendent is hopeful changes will be made so students can return to in-person learning at the beginning of the year.

Alan Gionet