How two Colorado kindergarten teachers, one in person, one online, navigated a new reality

At 7:50 a.m., kindergarten teacher Liz Blaskowski stood by her classroom door inside Westminster’s Skyline Vista Elementary School, ready to greet 17 new students — and take their temperatures. Several miles away, at 8:45 a.m., Denver kindergarten teacher Erika Macias logged on to Zoom to find eight little faces in eight little boxes waiting for her.

Monday was the first day of kindergarten in both Denver and Westminster. But the school days looked very different. That’s because Colorado doesn’t have a statewide strategy for reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, each district is following its own plan.

Westminster Public Schools, which serves about 9,000 students, reopened schools for in-person learning. Families who don’t want to attend can opt to learn remotely at home.

Denver Public Schools took the opposite approach. About 10 times larger than Westminster, the 92,000-student Denver district started the school year online. Learning will remain virtual until at least mid-October, at which point Denver may reopen school campuses.

We asked kindergarten teachers in both districts to tell us about their first day. Their stories provide a glimpse into the different ways teachers and students are experiencing school this fall.

Read the full story from our partner at chalkbeat.org. Chalkbeat Colorado is a nonprofit news organization covering education issues. For more, visit chalkbeat.org/co.

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