Students set to return to school next week


By Randi Pierce

Staff Writer

Archuleta School District (ASD) students will head back to school, both remotely and in person, next week.

Sept. 8 is the official first day of school for district students, with the district’s legacy schools returning under a hybrid model that includes both in-person and virtual distance learning, and Pagosa Peak Open School (PPOS), the district’s charter school, returning to in-person education.

“Our schools and district staff are very happy to be back in our schools and we are looking forward to welcoming students next week,” District Superintendent Dr. Kym LeBlanc-Esparza wrote in an email to The SUN. “We know that this year will be different, we will have to be incredibly thoughtful about health and safety for students’ and staff sake. But we have done a great deal to train staff, we have been thoughtful about PPE, cleaning procedures and movement throughout our schools. These will definitely have to be ongoing efforts, but we know all of these efforts are worth it when we think about the benefits of being back in school for students.”

Under the hybrid/blended learning model, students will be grouped into two cohort groups, groups A and B, a press release from the district explains. 

Group A (last names A-L) will attend school in person Monday and Tuesday and complete at-home remote learning Wednesday through Friday.

Group B (last names M-Z) will attend in-person school on Wednesday and Thursday and complete at-home remote learning Friday, Monday and Tuesday.

PPOS, the district’s charter school, will return to full-time in-person learning.

“Pagosa Peak Open School is excited to offer our families choices that meet their needs. We are looking forward to welcoming our students back in-person five days a week and in our distance learning program,” PPOS Director Angela Reali-Crossland wrote in an email to The SUN. “The purchase of our building has helped us transform our space into a high-quality learning environment and provide more space for social distancing. We are excited to launch our first projects with the students and dive into learning through inquiry and hands-on learning experience.”

School reopening details

Included with this week’s SUN is a back-to-school guide that details district information ranging from school opening information, supply lists, COVID protocols, health and wellness goals, school-specific information, food service information, school bus schedules, enrollment information, and much more.

Free food program


On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture extended the option for child nutrition program sponsors to operate the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option through as late as Dec. 31, dependent on available funding. 

This allows schools to offer nutritious meals to all children at no charge this fall, the press release states, regardless of their eligibility status.

ASD Food Service Director Todd Stevens reported Wednesday that ASD will continue to participate in the program and is looking at options for delivering food to students doing distance learning.

“The intent right now is to run the bus routes,” he said, noting that bus routes and times, pick-up options and more details are not yet available.