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Denver’s online pandemic-era elementary school to close

Online learning Denver

Denver will shut down its pandemic-era online elementary school at the end of this school year, district officials announced at a school board meeting Monday.

Parents and teachers pleaded to save the school, describing the range of students who have benefitted, including neurodiverse students who find in-person classes overstimulating, students with high anxiety, those whose families are unhoused and highly mobile, and students who are immunocompromised or who live with someone who is.

“I will not be sending my children to in-person school,” parent Christin Finch told the school board. “The stakes could not be higher. The stakes are life and death.”

Denver Online Elementary, known as DOLE, opened in fall 2021 as an alternative to in-person learning. Several Colorado school districts set up similar programs. 

Enrollment in online schools remains higher across the state than before the pandemic.

But DOLE is shrinking. Last year, the school enrolled about 550 students, said Cesar Cedillo, the district’s chief of schools. This year, DOLE has a little more than 200 students, he said. Principal Jesse Tang has said that 85% of DOLE students are students of color. 


-Chalkbeat Colorado, Melanie Asmar

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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