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Denver Public Schools Announces Learning Changes Amid New Level 3 Restrictions

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver Public Schools reacted to the city and county's latest announcement in moving to Level 3 of Safer At Home restrictions. In a letter to parents Tuesday evening superintendent Susana Cordova says the school district will "scale back in-person instruction in response to the rising COVID cases but still keep our elementary schools open for our youngest learners."

remote learning laptop school student Teenage girl studying with video online lesson at home   family in isolation Homeschooling and distance learning
(credit: Getty Images)

For families the announcement only adding to a year full of uncertainty and constant back and forth for some.

"That's hard, I mean just at the drop of a dime," DPS mother Joanna Rosa-Saenz said.

In March, when students first moved to remote learning, she changed the families daily life to make sure her boys, Alejandro, Gabe and Sebastian could continue their education.

"This used to be our playroom now it's our classroom," 8-year-old Gabe said.

"The changes I made were one hundred percent with my kids. If it wasn't me tending to my children and doing school, no one else was going to do it. I don't have any other type of help," Rosa-Saenz said.

This fall they went back to the classroom, giving her youngest children the experience she felt she couldn't create at home.

"When I saw my friends I just wanted to scream," Gabe said.

It also gave mom a chance to get back to her own work.

"My whole life has switched because of this and, you know, to go out and look for resources has been humbling, but also to share this information with others families has been rewarding," she said.

denver students schools laptop class students face mask (1)
(credit: CBS)

When COVID-19 numbers started rising in Denver again, she prepared for yet another shift.

"My youngest son's teacher had a manila envelope, 'We are giving you this because in a few hours we will know if you're going to be able to bring your child or not,'" she said.

Late Tuesday afternoon they learned their routine would remain the same for the time being. The district detailed their response to tighter restrictions in an email to parents.

Here's how it will look: 

  • Early childhood education (ECE) through second grade will continue to attend full-time, in-person learning as district officials cite critical in-person support, and in-person conditions for these students are low risk.
  • Grades 3-5 will stay open for in-person instruction through Friday, Oct. 30. These students will start remote learning on Monday, Nov. 2 through the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Grades 6-12 will continue remote learning through the end of the semester in December in an effort to help middle and high school teachers and students to focus on learning.
  • Newcomer Centers, Remote-Learning Support Centers, and Special Education Center programs will continue to offer full-time, in-person learning for all grades through the rest of the first semester.

"There is real fear, anxiety and concern on all sides, regardless of where you stand on this issue – parents and students who desperately want their children to be in school, teachers and leaders who are concerned about their health and safety. There is no easy answer, but I want you to know that this balance–serving the students who pose the least risk and need in-person learning the most – while providing high-quality remote services to all others, is the balance that will serve us best in this difficult time," Superintendent Susana Cordova told parents Tuesday night.

In every situation, Rosa-Saenz says her children come first, but it's still a struggle made worse by the day to day uncertainty.

"I'm hoping that our school system DPS can figure out some way that our kids can still go to school," she said.

Cordova says concerned families should contact their school directly or the Family and Community Helpline at 720-423-3054 or

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