Meeker schools ‘increasingly unlikely’ to reopen this year


Buses sit unused at Meeker Elementary School during the ongoing suspension of in-person learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Caitlin Walker | Herald Times

MEEKER | As Meeker School District’s regularly scheduled spring break winds down, officials are planning for distance learning and meal distribution while schools are closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ordered school closures currently extend to April 17, but Governor Jared Polis has stated schools are “increasingly unlikely” to return to in-person learning this year. MSD will continue to adjust plans as the situation changes.

“The Meeker School District is not asking parents to home-school all children. We will provide educational resources, but will need active partnership with parents to ensure learning to the greatest extent possible,” read a March 26 letter from Superintendent Chris Selle.

Beginning today, March 30, MSD will start to make the jump to distance learning. Parents will receive invitations to a virtual classroom from their child’s teacher, and school staff will assist in providing resources for online instruction.

Schools will independently develop and institute ways for students to obtain needed materials like textbooks in a ‘grab-and-go’ format at each school. Watch for further specifics from your school principal.

Governor Polis’ stay at home order does not apply to necessary travel related to picking up necessary school resources, like textbooks or Chromebooks, or school meals.

During the regular school board meeting Monday, held virtually, Selle told the board, “We are completely transitioning our instructional delivery model to something we have not prepared or trained to do.” He’s encouraging teachers to do their best and make sure the kids learn “as much as they can” in the next six weeks,” adding, “We’re trying to pull something off in a matter of days that would ordinarily take years. It’s a lot of work in a short amount of time.”

Questions have yet to be answered regarding how attendance will be handled, and what will happen with standardized testing. The state has issued a waiver for this year’s standardized tests, Selle said.

The Colorado Department of Education published best practices for at-home learning success, including:

  • Openly communicating with your child about not only their schooling, but how they’re feeling during this time
  • Knowing what you need and what will be expected from your school
  • Recreating a schedule similar to your usual routine. If students are used to getting up and getting going at 7 a.m., keep at it. Try to give students a bit of familiarity where you can.
  • Continue healthy habits.
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For school meals, here’s how to make requests for those:

  • Make their requests by filling out the following Google form: MSD Meal Service During COVID-19 Closure
  • This form must be submitted weekly before 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning
  • Meals will be delivered from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. each day to the sites listed in the Google form
  • Parents or students will need to travel to these sites to receive the meals
  • The first meal services will be Wednesday, April 1, and Thursday, April 2
  • Meals will be provided Monday through Thursday in subsequent weeks until the executive order suspending in-person learning is lifted or May 21, whichever occurs first.

Related: RBC Public Health’s letter to parents during the school closure