Westminster Public Schools reverses course, opts to keep remote learning through winter break as COVID cases surge

Westminster public schools will suspend in-person learning through winter break due to “dangerously high COVID-19 levels in Adams County” — an about-face from the district’s stance earlier this week to allow students to return on Monday.

“In conversations with local leaders on Friday, we have learned now that new stay-at-home type restrictions are going to be issued,” school Superintendent Pam Swanson said Saturday in a recorded video posted to the district’s website. “It’s thought that 1 in 58 Adams County residents now have COVID.”

That level of restriction has always been a benchmark for switching to remote learning, said Ryan McCoy, president of the Westminster Public Schools Board of Education.

The rising number of positive cases among staff and students, Swanson said, would have led to a situation where hundreds of students and staff on Monday would be forced to quarantine.

Westminster’s decision comes after its neighboring districts — Adams 12 Five Star Schools and Boulder Valley School District — elected this week to move all students to online learning through the end of the fall semester.

On Wednesday, Westminster announced its roughly 8,500 students would return to school as planned on Nov. 16, following a two-week remote-learning period as cases surged throughout the metro area and across Colorado.

That surge, however, has done anything but abate.

The school district announced that drive-thru meal distribution would continue to be available Monday through Friday next week. The hours and locations can be found on the district website.

“We are aware that the return to full-time remote learning is not the ideal solution for staff or students, but given the circumstances, this is a very responsible step,” the district said in a statement.

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