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Delayed Opening of School and Staggered Starts by Division

August 05, 2020
Preparing for a Safe Return to Campus
Dear CSS Families,

August has arrived, and we are continuing to make plans and actively seek solutions to many COVID-19 challenges. Like many schools, we are looking to return to on-campus learning. Unique to CSS, plans are underway to provide our CSS community the greatest opportunity for a successful and sustained return to campus.

In order to prioritize operational readiness and sustainable e-Learning practices - coupled with local health guidance and facility recommendations - the Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees are revising the start of school for each division.

The revised back-to-school schedule was thoughtfully created following an informative health and safety walkthrough with Dr. Sarah Bartz P’29, P’31, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital, Dr. Kerri Bagnall P’24, a pediatrician with Iron Horse Pediatrics, and Dr. Leon Kelly P’30, P’27, a pathologist and the Deputy Medical Director of El Paso County. Some of the helpful insights and opportunities that emerged from the walkthrough built upon plans already underway and dove deeper into the following procedures:
  • More detailed student schedules are being reconstructed to allow for smoother transitions between on-campus schedules and e-Learning schedules. The daily routine will start at 7:45 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. We are instituting a late start of 8:45 a.m. on Wednesdays to allow for professional development meetings for teachers. Upon further review, CSS is no longer able to offer morning care or early coverage during this time, but we will continue to offer Extended Care in the afternoon and Homework Heaven through 5:30 p.m. through strict sign-up and availability.
  • New “Carline for Everyone” drop-off and pick-up routines for all divisions are being designed, including routines for all students to enter grade-level classrooms or first period/advisory periods from exterior doors to reduce hallway congestion and gathering spaces. Maps and checklists for these procedures will be distributed. To reiterate, parents will not be able to park and walk students into buildings.
  • Wellness and temperature screenings will be confirmed upon arrival to school in carline or on the bus. The Parents Association has offered to recruit volunteers to assist with the daily check-in of students at morning drop-off.
  • Reconfiguring many classrooms to accommodate social distancing within classrooms and rebuilding the schedule to prioritize grade-level cohorts from PreK - 8th grade to minimize movements between designated classrooms.
  • Picnic-style class lunch. The staggered starts will allow the dining hall to fine-tune new guidelines.
  • Creating pop-up outdoor classrooms to maximize fresh air and social distancing through extensive campus acreage. We are excited to leverage this opportunity in this new environment.

Parents with expertise in construction have already shared their talents, meeting to brainstorm possibilities, finalize designs, and order supplies for multiple outdoor pergolas to serve as classrooms. With initial funding provided by the Parents Association, construction on these outdoor classrooms will commence immediately. If you are in a position to give charitably above and beyond your typical Annual Fund donation to assist with COVID-19 relief funds to designate dollars for academic and facility enhancements to allow for a successful and more sustainable return to campus, please consider this tax-deductible opportunity. Or if you can dedicate your time to these efforts through volunteer workgroups, we will be sending out a volunteer signup in the coming days.

Make a Gift

Goals in the revised schedule give our CSS Community opportunities to:
  • Create a longer runway to execute the recommended facility improvements, modifications, and prioritizing of permanent outdoor pop-up classrooms.
  • Understand new procedures for teachers, parents, and students.
  • Prepare students and teachers for a smooth transition to e-Learning, if needed.

Week of August 3-7, 2020

  • All grade-level teachers and advisors reach out to students/family for one-on-one virtual meetings.

Week of August 10-15, 2020

  • All teachers report to campus in person.

Week of August 17-21, 2020

  • Operational readiness teams and facility preparations in full swing.
  • NEW DATE: Thursday, August 20, Virtual Back-to-School Night

Week of August 24-28, 2020

  • Staggered Starts
  • Monday, August 24, Middle and Upper School starts school with On-Campus, In-Person Learning.
    • Please anticipate delays in Middle School and Upper School carline as we adjust to the COVID-19 check-ins.
  • August 24-28, Children’s School starts school with e-Learning.

Week of August 31-September 4, 2020

  • Staggered Starts
  • August 31-September 4; Middle and Upper School revert to e-Learning for the week.
  • August 31-September 4; Children’s School starts school with On-Campus, In-Person Learning
    • Please anticipate delays in Children’s School carline as we adjust to the COVID-19 check-ins.

Week of September 8-11, 2020 (Monday, September 7, is Labor Day)

  • All students in all divisions attend On-Campus, In-Person Learning


  • We could not be more inspired by the creativity and innovations witnessed this past weekend in the Upper School’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. The leadership of Director Sandy Bray, her team, and the cast and crew of students resulted in pure magic.

  • After two years, we are wrapping up major roof replacements caused by the August 2018 catastrophic hail storm. There are still details to resolve within these insurance claims but the heavy-lifting of these construction timetables is worth acknowledging. Thank you to our CFO Ron Marko and Director of Facilities Mike Zaccagnino on their work.

  • Upper School students are in for a treat when they enter the halls of the El Pomar Academic Center this year. Under the vision of Athletic Director Vicki Vaughan, the interior got a fresh coat of paint along with some stylish modern student workspaces and lounges. New furniture was purchased, student lockers were painted, and wood was varnished, all powered by a handful of student-athletes with paint brushes in hand. Fresh mulch, newly painted railings, and trimmed trees adorn the entrance. It truly was a team effort in pride!

New guidance and recommendations are evolving at a rapid pace and our team will adapt as quickly as possible. We thank you for your patience and commitment to the Community Pledge.


Please note we are requesting students bring the following additional personal supplies for our safe return to campus:

  • Mask or Gaitor - Plus a quick-release lanyard for mask to be removed easily for breaks and snacks.

  • Personalized (labeled) hand sanitizer or wipes that are accessible at school throughout the day.

  • Sunhat and sunglasses.

  • Camp Chair with consideration for a canopy/sunshade for Middle and Upper School students. Children’s School teachers will assess and advise by grade level any outdoor seating recommendations for our youngest students.

Link To School Supply Lists

With Appreciation,

Tambi Tyler
Head of School