Governor Polis Announces Back-to-School Working Group

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

DENVER -  Today Governor Jared Polis announced the formation of a back-to-school working group with the mission of assisting the Governor and the State plan for the safe return of students to the classroom in January 2021.

“Every child should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and we cannot let our students’ education become a casualty of this pandemic,” said Governor Jared Polis. “This challenging time has strained our educators, parents, school staff and students. That’s why I’ve formed this working group to help us successfully reopen our schools for in-person learning during the pandemic— I believe that together, we can build upon and develop innovative strategies that assist us in safely reopening schools for all our students.”

The task force will consist of stakeholders including teachers, other school staff, superintendents, elected school boards, charter school leaders, health officials, and parents who are convening to share on-the ground perspectives and feedback to the Governor, Commissioner Katy Anthes, and key public health leaders about school reopening. 

The group will hold its first meeting tomorrow to review and discuss current protocols and best practices, in an effort to provide informed feedback to the Governor and others, who are working to ensure that as many students as possible will be able to safely return to classrooms in January. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released an update of the decision-support tools for educators, to aid them in determining who needs to quarantine after an exposure in the classroom or school setting. This update standardizes the protocol no matter the Dial phase of the county. The updated tools can be found here.

Governor Polis will hold a remote press availability today at 12:30pm to discuss the Back-to-School Working Group. Members of the media, please contact to receive information on participating. 

Members of the task force include: Diedre Pilch, Greeley-Evans D-6 Superintendent; Leslie Nichols, Gunnison Watershed School District Superintendent; Amie Baca-Oehlert, Teacher and CEA President; Rebecca Holmes, Colorado Education Initiative; Lisa Larson, Boulder Valley paraprofessional; Dee Leyba, La Junta school board member Rebecca McClellan, State Board of Education; Catie Santos de la Rosa, Aurora educator; Crystal Jennings, Colorado Springs parent; Dan Gherke, CEO of Lutheran High School in Parker; Mike Miles, Third Future Schools; Rachel Kaygi, parent and board member of Healthier Colorado; Kelly Grenham, Mapleton School District nurse; Heath Harmon, Eagle County Public Health; Tom Gonzales, Larimer County Public Health.