Jan 7, 2022 - News

Students' return to school comes with "flurona" and closures

Illustration of hand writing and crossing out open and closed on a chalkboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Colorado schools opened their doors for the spring semester this week amid a record surge of COVID cases — and it didn't take long for them to close their doors again.

Driving the news: Staffing shortages coupled with the latest COVID spike caused nearly 20 Denver district schools to switch to full or partial remote learning on Wednesday.

  • Denver and Aurora Public Schools canceled classes on Thursday due to the teacher deficit coinciding with inclement weather. DPS will reopen Friday.
  • Denver administrators reported this week that 7% of teachers were absent because they had caught or been exposed to the virus. As of Thursday, DPS data showed 143 positive cases among staff and 211 in students.
  • Aurora Public Schools reported nearly 400 teachers and staff missing on the first day of the spring semester, the Sentinel reports.

Between the lines: This week, Colorado public health experts reported high rates among school-age children.

  • Many are becoming infected with both COVID-19 and the flu — "flurona" — or the coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses, said Scott Bookman, the state's disease control director.

Zoom in: After infections spiked at Denver's Northfield High School, leaders were forced to decide the night before school resumed to go remote, our education reporting partners at Chalkbeat write.

  • The transition went relatively smoothly, but students and their families are losing hope and motivation as more of their schools bring them back online.

What they're saying: "It's back to the whole 2020 [thing] of cameras off, you don't want people to see you," Northfield High senior Eduardo Hernandez said. Being in virtual class Tuesday and Wednesday felt like "just hearing the teacher talk and their face and their voice" for the entire period.

Go deeper with our partners at Chalkbeat


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