AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released a roadmap for families and teachers to navigate going back to school. The new guidance will allow many schools to go back to in-person learning at the start of the year.

“It was really stressful at the beginning,” Gabriel Narro said, reflecting on last school year.

Gabriel Narro (credit: CBS)

Narro is an incoming freshman in the Cherry Creek School District.

“I was in Cohort B, so for example they would go in-person Monday, I would be online Tuesday,” he recalled.

Narro and his classmates went back to remote learning when COVID-19 cases spiked. It took nearly until spring break to return to full in-person learning again.

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“It was kind of hard to learn throughout the year because when we were online, it was basically just assignments,” Narro described.

Some of the latest recommendations are aimed at reducing disruptions. They include wearing a mask and keeping screening protocols, however, if there’s a confirmed case, large groups of students and staff won’t have to quarantine if there is proper testing. The  quarantine period for someone infected is also shortened from 10 to 7 days.

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“From what I heard from my sister who graduated last year and is going to college is that they couldn’t even figure out how to set up the practices,” Narro said.

Narro is wondering if soccer practices will resume, as school districts are still reviewing their plans, and what to communicate with parents.

“I just really want people to get vaccinated because that new variant is more deadly,” Narro added.

The new variant could also impact classes if there’s a dramatic increase in cases.  Narro remains optimistic for a smoother school year, though if anything, COVID has taught him to roll with the changes.

Jacqueline Quynh