Colorado schools closed through April 17: Resources for students and families navigating learning from home

Written by: Leslie Colwell
Date Posted: March 20, 2020

This week, Gov. Polis took the unprecedented step of suspending in-person learning in public and private schools across the state from March 23 to April 17 as part of the statewide effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. His executive order directs Colorado school districts and the Charter School Institute to make every effort to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time while taking into account the needs of local communities. The order also directs the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) to issue guidance to support P-12 school systems in developing and implementing plans to assist families and students in accessing alternative learning, providing free and reduced-price lunch and breakfast, and offering waivers for instructional time as appropriate.

Before the announcement about statewide school closure, CDE announced a pause on 2019-20 statewide assessments (the Colorado Measures of Academic Success) and accountability. “With the extraordinary actions we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it’s clear that we need to press pause on our CMAS tests this year,” Commissioner Katy Anthes said in a press release. “Students and educators need to feel a sense of stability and normalcy before state tests can be administered and produce valid results. This also means we plan to pause our school and district state accountability system as it relates to state assessments for a year.”

CDE is working with the College Board on possible solutions for the administration of the PSAT and SAT tests in high school. The Department will continue working with schools and districts that are already identified for improvement to help support instruction.

The Children’s Campaign is committed to working with CDE, other advocacy organizations, and our community-facing and youth-serving partners to ensure that students have equitable access to remote learning opportunities, nutritious meals, and other services to support their health and wellbeing while out of school.

In the meantime, we hope the resources below may be a helpful starting point for students and families that are navigating uncharted learning-from-home waters.

Curated learning resources to support students out of school:

COVID-19 resources for parents, families, and those working closely with children:

Leslie Colwell

About Leslie Colwell

Leslie Colwell serves as the Vice President of K-12 Education Initiatives, leading the Campaign’s work to improve education in the state of Colorado. Before joining the Children’s Campaign in August of 2014, Leslie worked to facilitate partnerships and produce policy agreements, especially in the area of education as an Associate at The Keystone Center. Her professional experience includes working as Legislative Director for State Senator Mike Johnston, managing his education policy portfolio (including his office’s work on HB12-1238, Colorado’s READ Act, and SB13-033, ASSET), and directing a policy fellowship for educators for three summers. Leslie has also worked on Teach For America’s alumni team, and before that taught 6th grade Math and Earth Science as a TFA corps member at Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School in Los Angeles. She currently serves on the board of the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization (CLLARO) and on the steering committee of the Colorado Afterschool Partnership.