By Jeff Todd

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) –  With COVID cases declining, school districts around the Front Range are making plans to increase the amount of time students are spending in the classroom. Over the next month, thousands of secondary students will transition from two to four days in-person.

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“I can finally see some light at the end of the pandemic COVID tunnel. I feel like this is one of the big steps forward in terms of getting out of the tunnel,” said Chris Gdowski Adams 12 Five Star Schools superintendent.

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On Friday, Adams 12 finalized plans to bring back students for grades 6-12 who have been in the hybrid system throughout March.

“We have almost all of our teachers vaccinated now through round one and by the time we come back from spring break each of them should have two vaccines and some immunity from that. We’ll have a lot of masks available to students. And then we’re going to add some air purifiers into the room. You add all that up and we feel like it really puts us in a good spot to have productive school operations,” Gdowski said.

Students who have been fully remote will remain in that tract for the remainder of the school year.

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JeffCo Public Schools announced a similar plan for secondary students. The hybrid students in middle and high school will be back in person four-days a week starting April 5 after Spring Break.

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“Now the levels are really beginning to come down. We’re going into blue. People are getting vaccinated so it’s a different feeling. There are a lot of concerns and a lot of fears that are going to have to be dealt with. But I think for the most part people are feeling better,” said Dale Munholland, a Social Studies Teacher at Pomona High School and the Vice President of the Jefferson County Education Association.

Munholland first spoke to CBS4 in December when he raised concerns about students returning to the classroom for even hybrid learning. He’s now in favor of the district’s plan.

“There are some positives here. It’s going to be good to see the kids back in the classroom and feel somewhat normal. Certainly, my life is going to become much easier, much less complicated without having to juggle kids at home and kids at the classroom and come up with two different lesson plans.”

(credit: CBS)

Gdowski says the return to class will bring other normal activities like prom, events for seniors, and graduation, though it may look slightly different depending on health regulations.

“There’s not a lot of time left (in the school year) so we want to maximize that,” Gdowski said. “Our kids are excited to be back. They’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. Our parents have been very supportive.”

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Jeff Todd