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Classrooms will be risky. Virtual learning falls short. How are Colorado parents choosing?

Colorado school districts have been releasing plans, but have asked for patience as they keep working out some details

Students in Barbara Haggerty's third grade class at Pennock Elementary School are already hard at work inside their classroom at the start of another school year on August 22, 2019 in Brighton. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More at chalkbeat.org.

Across the metro area, parents of schoolchildren are stressing out as they weigh school district options to either send their students back to classrooms, or continue online learning.

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Parents say that as school start dates approach, they wish they had more details about what school might look like during a pandemic. And for some metro-area districts school could be back in session in less than a month.

Some parents also worry that nothing the school districts do to mitigate the risks will guarantee safety, but that if online learning is anything like it was in the spring, their children won’t be getting a proper education from home.

Maria Enriquez, a Denver mother of three students, is thinking of keeping her children home next school year. But she recalls that online learning didn’t go well in the spring.

“Our internet was failing a lot and I don’t know why,” Enriquez said. “I was communicating with their teachers, but the kids didn’t have a lot of work.”

Enriquez’s husband has family in Houston who have COVID-19, including a brother-in-law who is on a ventilator. One of her children, a 9-year-old boy, has trouble keeping on his face mask, which Enriquez said would put him at risk at school.

“We don’t even know for sure who infects who,” Enriquez said. “So there’s still a worry.”

School districts have been releasing plans, but have asked for patience as they keep working out some details. Meanwhile, certain parts of the plans are contingent on public health guidance which could change as cases of COVID-19 trend upward again in Colorado.

Local public health officials have worked with school districts on these plans and have published guidance noting that children are less likely to be sick and less likely to transmit the coronavirus.

Read more at chalkbeat.org.

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