Steamboat kindergarten to 2nd-grade students to return to full in-person learning Jan. 19 |

Steamboat kindergarten to 2nd-grade students to return to full in-person learning Jan. 19

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Students in kindergarten to second grade will return to the classroom every day beginning Jan. 19 in the Steamboat Springs School District, according to a letter sent to parents late Monday.

This is the first part of the district’s phased implementation plan for kindergarten through fifth grade that will be discussed at the district’s board meeting next week. In that meeting, Routt County public health officials will weigh in on the district’s plan and offer recommendations.

If health officials OK the plan, it will be released on Jan. 13, according to the letter.

“We know many of our families are hoping their children will return to school full time as soon as possible, and we have also heard from families who continue to feel extremely reluctant about that potential return,” Superintendent Brad Meeks wrote in the letter.

While the Hayden and South Routt school districts returned to in-person classes Monday, Steamboat opted to wait and see what, if any, effect the holidays had on local cases of COVID-19. District officials have telegraphed the plan for weeks, saying it would use a phased approach, bringing younger students back first followed progressively by older students.

The plan’s end goal is to get all students back in school every day, but the letter asks parents to be prepared for a transition back to hybrid learning, potential quarantines of grades or cohorts and even a potential move back to virtual learning in some schools if quarantines prevent enough staff from working.

In the letter, Meeks also acknowledged the district has been receiving a lot of inquiries from parents about requiring the vaccine for next school year. Meeks said state and federal policy would decide if there was a vaccine requirement and what the waiver process for that would be.

“We have not received any information about how this might be handled and do not expect to receive it any time soon, as we do not yet know when the vaccination will be available for children,” Meeks said.

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