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News Release - State Board of Education approves statewide waivers
May 13, 2020
State Board of Education approves statewide waivers
Commissioner Anthes provides updates on CDE's response to COVID-19
DENVER - In today’s monthly meeting, the Colorado State Board of Education approved four statewide waivers necessary due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Jared Polis’ April 14 executive order enabled the state board to temporarily waive requirements in statute or rule so districts and schools could focus on delivery of instruction and associated student services during the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Wednesday, the board granted waivers for the Exceptional Children’s Act rules on procedural requirements for gifted education. The board also waived the timeline to expend funds within the Universal Screening Grant Program and the rule requiring attendance to be taken twice a day. More details are available on Board Docs.
Updates on CDE’s response to COVID-19
Education Commissioner Katy Anthes updated the board on the department’s work supporting districts with their response to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. CDE and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are consulting with districts and other stakeholders to develop a toolkit to help districts plan for the 2020-21 school year. The toolkit will include guidance and requirements for districts to consider as they plan for the upcoming school year.
“While we are all hopeful that schools can resume in-person instruction next fall, we will need to see how the next few months play out,” Anthes said. “It is an enormous challenge to plan for school in the fall while the situation continues to evolve. As we get more data about the virus, and more testing capabilities, we will adjust the guidance and requirements included in the toolkit.”
Board requests legal review of Zoom’s compliance with privacy laws
In response to concerns about Zoom videoconferencing for remote instruction in schools, the board directed the Attorney General’s Office to review Zoom’s compliance with state and federal privacy laws. If the AG’s Office finds that Zoom is not in compliance with data protection laws, the board may consider directing districts to use alternative platforms.
Town of Windsor vs. Colorado Early Colleges
The board agreed with the Town of Windsor in a legal dispute that an administrative law judge failed to decide whether the Colorado Early College should be required to build a turn lane in front of its Windsor school. The board also upheld the judge’s ruling that the matter should ultimately be decided by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Upcoming rulemaking hearings
As a result of the suspension of in-person learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, CDE recommended changes to several rules. The board will hold public hearings for these proposed rule changes at its June meeting:
Rules for the Administration of Statewide Accountability Measures for the Colorado Public School System, Charter School Institute, Public School Districts and Public Schools. Changes to the rules will extend the April 15, 2020, Unified Improvement Plan submission deadline to Oct. 15, 2020.
Rules for the Administration of Accountability for Alternative Education Campuses. Amended rules would exempt school districts from the requirement to submit a request for AEC designation in spring 2020 and allow the state board to roll forward AEC designations from fall 2019.
Rules for the Administration of the Public School Transportation Fund. Amendments to the rules would allow school districts to submit transportation fund reimbursement claims by Sept. 15, instead of the Aug. 15 date currently in the rules.