DENVER, CO– The House today passed two bills to address disrupted learning from the COVID-19 pandemic. HB21-1259 would make it easier for students to access critical extended learning opportunities, and SB21-013 would identify and collect resources and best practices for districts to deploy to address disrupted learning.
“Disrupted learning could become one of the long-lasting impacts of this pandemic if we don’t act quickly and decisively to provide Colorado students with the resources they need,” said Denver Public Schools Director Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “These bills will help school districts in every corner of the state access additional tools and resources faster to help address students’ specific learning needs. The bills ensure that the best practices districts learn and uncover are reported and shared with all districts and families so we all have the tools we need to help students. We’re doing everything we can to put students, teachers and parents first as we recover from this pandemic and build back stronger.” HB21-1259, which passed by a vote of 53-1, is sponsored by Representative Baco. It streamlines the application process and reporting requirements for school districts seeking to access stimulus funding to provide students with extended learning opportunities. By making it easier to access these funds, more Colorado students will have access to these critical learning opportunities that will be utilized to address COVID-19-related disruptions to learning. “School districts across Colorado have deployed a range of tools and strategies to address disrupted learning from COVID-19, and now we’re creating a tool to facilitate access and share these best practices,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood. “We’re committed to helping school districts and teachers have the tools they need to work with students and reverse the impacts of learning disruptions related to COVID-19.” SB21-013, which passed by a vote of 42-21, is sponsored by Representatives Jennifer Bacon and Meg Froelich. It directs the Department of Education to identify and collect resources to help school districts address learning disruptions. It will include products, strategies, and services that have been demonstrated to identify and address learning disruption experienced as a result of disruptions to learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill also directs local education providers to expand students’ access to online courses currently provided on the Colorado Digital Learning Solutions platform, and to communicate the availability of these learning recovery opportunities to students’ families. The Colorado Department of Education is expected to receive $1.2 billion in federal stimulus money from the American Rescue Plan, about $1 billion of which will go directly to school districts. Of the $120 million kept by CDE, approximately $58 million must be used on evidence-based interventions to address the impacts of COVID-19, $12 million for after school programming, and $12 million for summer programming.