EPSD goes #BacktoClass

September 24, 2020

Return to In-Person Learning

Returning to in-person learning will look different at Estes Park School District. We want to be clear that we are returning to in-person learning as much as possible, and with a plan. We have been collaborating with and receiving guidance from Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and our teachers to develop a plan for returning to in-person learning.

As we developed this plan, we kept in mind the top priorities we heard from our families for returning to in-person learning:

  • Minimize Health Risks

  • Consistency for how my child engages in learning day to day

  • Ensuring my child is able to connect with friends and peers in person.

Many of the virus mitigation efforts you will see in our plan are those you are already experiencing at stores, restaurants, and businesses.

  • Masks or face coverings will be required for all staff and students while on campuses. If outside and physically distanced or in a room by yourself, masks can be removed.
  • Prior to students returning for in-person learning, parents will be required to sign an In-Person Learning COVID-19 Assurance Form, which confirms the student will adhere to all safety guidelines included in this document. This includes the acknowledgement that guardians will symptom and temperature check their students at home prior to coming to school. (This will be an electronic acknowledgement in PowerSchool).

  • Contact tracing is a required element of the “Back to Class” plan. Larimer County health officials have provided reasons why it is an essential part of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the community. To learn more, please visit https://www.larimer.org/contact-tracing.
  • Students and staff will return to school with safety protocols in place, including physical distancing and other safe practices.
  • Students will engage in the school day with typical classes and remain with the same group or “cohort” of classmates to the extent practicable. There is no specific number that will define a cohort. The number of personal interactions will be minimized throughout the school day as much as possible.
  • School schedules will minimize student transitions and limit mixing of students from other cohorts.
  • Teachers and staff will utilize a structure of both in-person and remote learning to be prepared for a return to remote learning from home in the event of a class, grade or school closure.
  • Students returning to EPSD for in-person learning are expected to adhere to all health guidelines, protocols and procedures.

Under the changing conditions in which we find ourselves, no plan is truly final because we are constantly receiving new information and guidance from public health experts, which continues to inform our decisions.

We understand that the past several months have been very challenging for our entire community. We are extremely grateful and proud of the partnership and support that our families have shown as we continue to do all that we can to provide the best educational experience for every student, every day. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

In-Person Learning: Phase In Building Plans and Schedules

Estes Park Elementary School

Estes Park Middle School

Estes Park High School

Estes Park Remote Learning Academy (RLA)

All communication from the schools surrounding return to in person learning does not impact Remote Learning Academy families. The RLA team will communicate any specific updates relative to RLA through the Buzz learning system. If your RLA student is taking any courses through the high or middle school, please see the specific school plan in reference to those specific courses.

Options School

Our team is currently planning for a return to in-person learning for the Options homeschool enrichment program. Families will be hearing from the Options team about next steps in the coming days.

For specific questions regarding in-person learning plans, contact the building administrator:

ES: John Bryant and Erin Miller

MS: Janet Fanning

HS: Ruby Bode and Chuck Scott

RLA: Mary Barron

Options: Pam Robertson

Student Support Services

Our Student Services Support department includes those services and supports a student receives in addition to classroom instruction through the following: Individual Education Plans, English Language Development Plans, Advanced Learning Plans, Section 504 Plans, READ Act Plans, and Response to Intervention Plans.

Students may receive small group/pull out supports and services in accordance with district health and safety recommendations. These supports will be delivered in alignment with the student’s educational plan. Student services staff will work collaboratively with teachers, parents, and students to provide successful services and support.

Specialized service providers will employ virtual options such as Zoom for some services to reduce the possibility of spread of COVID 19 between cohorts of students/staff.

To support the ongoing health of our students and staff, all parent meetings related to educational plans will occur via a distance format (video conference/phone). Staff will work with parents who have challenges to meeting via a distance format.

For questions about Student Services and Support, please reach out to Director of Student Services, Lazlo Hunt.

Potentially High Risk Activities: Part of the In-Person School Experience

EPSD strongly supports the integration of athletic programs and performing arts, and recognizes the value of play time as well. We believe these activities not only promote community and sportsmanship, but that they are fundamental to the human experience. We realize these activities may inhibit the ability to wear face coverings and may conflict with physical distancing guidelines; however, through thoughtful planning and well-implemented and proactive measures, we believe we can safely provide all students an experience where the risks are lowered and rewards are high.


Game schedules are still being completed. Most sports are having practice at this time. It is important that athletes communicate with their coaches and ensure to get a physical completed and their paperwork submitted on www.planetHS.com.

  1. EPSD will follow all guidelines provided by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) and the recommendations from the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) regarding team sports and activities.

  2. EPSD has consulted national, state, and local health department guidance and protocols in the creation of our “phased” return to in-person activities plan.

  3. EPSD will require all parents/guardians and students participating in athletics to sign an Assumption of Risk Waiver indicating their understanding of the health and safety risks and protocols in place to reduce the exposure to the coronavirus.

  4. In compliance with any health orders, it is possible that students may be asked to withdraw from participating in athletics.

  5. Participants will be grouped in student cohorts to minimize the potential for spreading the coronavirus. If someone becomes sick, we will be able to quickly identify other students who have been in contact with that student because of these cohort groups.

  6. Based on national and state guidelines, district athletic directors and coaches have participated in training presentations to ensure a clear understanding of the required safety measures and protocols that have been established to minimize the exposure or spread of coronavirus.

2020-2021 CHSAA Calendar (subject to CHSAA change)

Season A, start date 8/10: Cross Country, Boys' Golf

Season B, start date 1/04: Basketball, Ice Hockey, Spirit, Girls' Swimming, Wrestling

Season C, start date 2/22: Football

Season C, start date 3/01: Boys' Soccer, Girls' Volleyball

Season D, start date 4/26: Baseball, Girls' Golf, Girls' Soccer, Track & Field

For questions or concerns regarding athletics, please contact the athletic director, Chuck Scott.

Band and Choir

We are working with our local public health agency to develop a plan for band and choir since they are among the highest risk activities, given that all inherently involve forceful respiration in a confined space. We are taking the following steps to mitigate risk:

  • Participants should wear a mask before, during, and after performances and rehearsals, except individuals playing wind or brass instruments while actively playing their instruments.

  • Individual vocalists and performers of wind or brass instruments should be positioned 15 feet from one another. Instrument bells should not be directed towards other individuals, and vocal performers should not directly vocalize towards other individuals. Condensate from wind and brass instruments should be collected in appropriate receptacles and disposed of properly.

  • Limit indoor choir, chorus, band, or performing art ensemble to 10 individuals to the greatest extent possible.

  • When weather permitting, classes will be held outside. Outdoor rehearsals and performances are best because they allow for rapid air exchange.

  • Develop live-performance alternatives or substitutes that meet ‘Performing’ and/or 'Expression' state standards, following national guidelines.

  • Use markings on the floor or student workstations to adhere to physical distance requirements in classrooms requiring movement.

  • High-touch surfaces, such as music stands, must be disinfected following the NFHS, NAfME, and NAMM Instrument Cleaning Guidelines and Information, and every effort should be made to reduce touching surfaces by separate players.

  • Avoid sharing wind or brass instruments.

Assemblies/Field Trips and Extracurricular Activities/Clubs

All school events such as school assemblies, pep rallies, plays, dances, concerts, back-to-school nights, etc. will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether or not they can safely be held.

Extracurricular and after school activities and clubs may be provided at school sites. Participants will follow appropriate health and safety guidelines as if in a classroom or school.


Buses will begin transporting students on October 1st. We are asking all families that have the capability to transport their students to school to please do so.

Our goal is to be able to provide transportation to all students that need it without having to turn any students away. We are limited on how many students we can transport to and from school. If you need the bus for your child’s transportation, you must fill out this registration form in order for your child to ride the bus.

Please call the Transportation Office at 970-577-0211 and speak with our staff if you have any questions about bus stops. They can help determine which stop is closest for your student’s registration form.

Link to Bus Routes: https://www.estesschools.org/Page/212

If you have additional questions regarding transportation, please email: EPSDTransportation@estesschools.org.

Technology for Learning

Students will be using most of the same applications in the classroom as they were when they were at home. If students need technical support, they should contact their teacher for assistance. If the student's teacher is not able to help they can email helpdesk@estesschools.org or submit a help request form here.

Nutrition Services

FREE AND REDUCED MEAL STATUS: As a reminder, all free and reduced meal applications from last year will expire on October 1st, 2020. At this time, any family that has not reapplied for benefits will be switched to a "paid" status. While the Nutrition Services Department has been issued a temporary waiver to continue to serve all students (whether in person or remote) for free, regardless of income, this waiver is temporary, so families are still encouraged to fill out an application for meal benefits. A family with Free and reduced meal status that has expired or lapsed will also lose benefits surrounding device protection waivers, class and sports fees, etc. Please be sure to reapply for these benefits before your current application expires.

For more information, contact Theresa Montgomery with Nutrition Services.

Additional Information:

  1. Breakfast and lunch will be available in a grab-and-go style.

  2. In order to practice physical distancing and maximize safety, meals may be offered in various ways, including in the cafeteria serving line (preferred), delivered to classrooms or designated areas, or at a grab-and-go cart near the entrance. Decisions will be site-based and contingent upon labor, equipment, schedules, and building layout. The Nutrition Services kitchen staff will work closely with the building administration to work out details for each site.

  3. Once they receive their meal, students will eat in the cafeteria or other area designated by the site staff with assigned seating. Physical distancing must be practiced and will be monitored by school staff.

  4. All staff and students must wear a face covering to receive food via the cafeteria serving line or other designated area. The mask should only be removed when seated and eating.

  5. Menu options will be streamlined for safety, portability, and labor considerations, while still meeting standards for nutrition. All building sites will serve the same menu. The drive-through location will be available twice per week and will vary slightly from building-based offerings. Students with disabilities that have meal modification forms on file will be handled on a case by case basis.

  6. All students will be required to remain on campus for lunch. Use of microwaves in the common areas for heating food will not be permitted. All microwave units have been removed from the lunch areas and cafeterias.