Centura Health and the Archdiocese of Denver are collaborating to open Catholic schools for in-person learning in the fall, despite sharply rising COVID-19 infections and the decisions of many public school districts to begin their years with virtual instruction.
“We’ve been meeting regularly with the Archdiocese of Denver Catholic Schools’ leadership team to provide guidance and recommendations that are really backed by scientific and clinical rigor,” said Jennifer Wills of Centura Health to the Denver Catholic, the publication of the archdiocese.
Centura Health committed to donate two million face masks to Catholic schools and other facilities. The organization has also consulted on cleaning protocols, distancing procedures, and how to respond if students come to school showing symptoms of COVID-19. The task force between the two entities included medical professionals from Centura Health and employees of the archdiocese who had a medical background.
Denver, Jefferson County and Aurora are among the school systems that have opted to begin their school years online. As of July 25, the three-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the state was 618 per day. Colorado is approaching the high point of new infections — 725 — that occurred on April 25, right before Gov. Jared Polis let the statewide stay-at-home order lapse.
The Washington Post reported on Sunday that parents are increasingly looking to enroll their children in private schools that are committing to in-person learning. An online petition with hundreds of signatures from private school employees and families nationally is warning that preventive classroom measures will likely fall short and contain “fatal errors.”
“More significantly, such efforts to reopen our campuses also require all community members — students, faculty, staff and those of the surrounding communities — to put their lives at risk for an experiment that will reveal just how devastating the coronavirus can be,” the petition reads.
Three people associated with Kent Denver School in Englewood are listed as signatories.