CA's COVID Response

We all play a part in protecting the health and safety of our CA Community.

Dear CA Community:

Thank you for your continued patience, confidence, and support for Colorado Academy as we continue to navigate pandemic operations this 2020-2021 school year.
Deliberate and measured approach
Every step of our school operations has entailed careful planning, with age-appropriate best practices and ones that employed the latest research around COVID-19 and its transmission. We planned for multiple scenarios, the underpinning of which, as always, is the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and parents. Our goal has been to support in-person learning as much as possible, but also, we have to be prepared to quickly switch to alternate teaching modalities, depending on things like case numbers and quarantines.

We began the school year with remote learning for all grades, slowly phasing in a modified CA Flex schedule. In mid-September, we brought back all Lower School students for in-person learning, five days each week. Our Middle and Upper School students remained in Flex mode, learning on campus every other day through the end of the calendar year. Now in 2021, we continue to our multi-layered approach to mitigating transmission of the virus on campus, which allowed us to bring more students back for in-person instruction. Health protocols include daily health screenings, increased cleaning and ventilation in our buildings, wastewater and environmental testing, daily hand hygiene, cohorting of students as much as possible, alternative arrangements for gatherings, and meals when the weather permits.

In keeping with Governor Jared Polis’s Back-to-School Task Force to increase in-person learning, CA is please to report that all of our students were able to return to full-time, on-campus learning beginning February 3, 2021.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important our safety protocols are, and how the participation of each and every member our community is vital to keeping our school open and to keeping our community safe. I firmly believe that if we can continue to work together, we can maximize health and learning, and minimize difficult and prolonged interruptions to our school year.

Our faculty and staff continue their incredible work in these challenging circumstances. We are grateful for the trust that each of you places in us, and we feel fortunate to be navigating this year together.

Mike Davis, PhD
Head of School
Colorado Academy

FAQs - Exposure, Quarantine, Testing

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • I’ve just been notified by the school that I have been exposed to COVID-19 and that I have to quarantine. How did Colorado Academy determine that I was exposed?

    Know that there is a cascade of events that has taken place prior to that notification. Here is how it usually goes: Someone finds out they have tested positive for COVID-19. Maybe it was through CA’s on-campus testing program, through a regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment, or they tested off campus because they didn’t feel well. When CA gets that call, we immediately begin determining when the COVID-positive person was on campus, what classrooms they were in and what classes they attended, who they might have had lunch with, whether they attended clubs, sports practice, or music lessons, and more. We create a roster of all the students who might have been exposed not only on the day of the positive test, but any interactions 48 hours prior. We then check that roster against attendance records, sports dismissals, and remote learners, and then we begin notifying parents and students about the exposure. We are required by law to follow our local public health agency directives around contact tracing and notification. We also have just four hours from the time we are notified to contact Jefferson County Public Health and report the positive case.
  • What is my quarantine time?

    Your notification from CA will have outlined what the school knows about the exposure, the last known date of exposure, the length of your quarantine, options for shortening quarantine, testing recommendations, and a possible date on which you can return to school. The original guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a full 14 days of quarantine. Once testing became widely available, the CDC provided options for shortening quarantines to seven days, IF a person produces a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 48 hours of ending quarantine. That is how we get to seven days of quarantine with a negative test on day five. Note that a PCR test includes the nasal swab test or the SalivaDirect. Rapid antigen tests do not meet the criteria.

    There is always an exception! Jefferson County Public Health says that if the exposure came through athletics, the quarantine away from sports is still 14 days, even if you are following a seven-day quarantine to be able to get back to in-person learning. Their thinking is that potential exposure is greater with physical exertion, so 14 days is a safer period of time for an infected individual to be away from other athletes. Guidelines change frequently. Here is the latest information on quarantine and isolation times.
  • Why can’t I come back to campus to be tested, since CA has an ongoing student testing program?

    CA’s testing program is serial testing of students, so we are testing 50% of the Middle and Upper School student body each week. We are also testing approximately half of our faculty and staff each week. Exposed or symptomatic people are to be tested OFF campus at one of the 15 COVIDCheck Colorado drive-through sites. You may use the same link to schedule a test. Simply use the drop-down menu to select a different site. If you want to get a look at sites ahead of time, check their hours, and see what kind of tests are being offered, click here:
  • I went to a drive-through site and found I couldn’t get tested, even though I had an appointment.

    Sorry about that. Students who are old enough to drive, but still under 18, must have an adult present for a test to be performed. Tests that we perform on campus have been OK’d by parents in advance, because they have signed the waiver for on-campus testing through the Primary Bio website.
  • Why did my mom or dad get a notification about my on-campus testing that was scheduled at a strange time of day?

    Those times are just placeholders. We are testing so many students at once that there are not enough appointment slots in the computer software to allow us to input them all at the correct time. This just allows us to put them in the system and generate bar codes and labels so that the specimens can be shipped to the lab and tested right away. Reassure your parents that they can ignore those notifications and there is nothing you need to do. Also reassure your parents that they will get copies of your results.
  • If I have been exposed but I feel just fine, why do I need to stay away from my friends?

    Forty-to-fifty percent of all COVID-19 cases are transmitted by people who feel fine and don’t even realize that they have COVID-19. They are asymptomatic. So, by quarantining, you are minimizing the chance that you could be an asymptomatic carrier who might infect others. By following quarantine protocols, you are helping to reduce potential spread of the disease. That means refraining from being out in the community, on campus, or with friends. The COVIDCheck Colorado test sites provide drive-through testing to minimize social contact.
  • What if we have questions?

    If you have health questions, please contact our Health Team, Mandy Batliner ( 303-914-2545, or  Jean Lyons ( with any questions.  You can also contact Renee Rockford ( for COVID testing and protocol questions.


List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • What if I have concerns for someone’s mental health during this pandemic?

    We know that Colorado Academy is a close community and that you all care for each other, so if you know someone who may need additional support, or you have a concern about something happening in regards to COVID-19, please contact your division principal or school counselor, or Head of School Dr. Mike Davis. Additional resources are always available, including the statewide Safe2Tell hotline. or 1-877-542-7233.
  • What is the Owl technology that CA is using?

    Colorado Academy has installed enhanced technology for every classroom to facilitate multiple modalities of instruction, including 360-degree OWL cameras that connect to our existing Zoom video-conferencing platform and provide images of a classroom, as well as camera tracking based on voices in the classroom.

    We are also working with multiple camera set-ups to enhance remote teaching for courses including arts and sciences. Whether we are on a CA Flex schedule, or whether students must be at home due to illness or quarantine, this technology provides a bridge between the physical and remote learning environments. While we believe that in-person learning provides the best experience, this technology allows students to participate, regardless of location, and to access learning from a web-enabled computer, tablet, or phone. 
  • What if someone in my family or I test positive for COVID-19?

    Reporting on COVID-19 exposure and testing is essential to our CA community. You must self-report your status if you fall into any of the following groups:
    • You have had prolonged contact of 10 or more minutes, in close proximity of 6 feet or less, with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
    • You are under quarantine by direction of a public health agency or medical provider, and/or awaiting test results for COVID-19.
    • You have been informed by a public health agency or a medical provider that you have tested positive or are presumptively positive for COVID-19.
    • You believe you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms.
    If you fall into any of these groups, please take the following steps:
    1. Let Diane Augustin (303-914-2517) know immediately. We are asking all families and staff to reach out to Diane Augustin, Executive Assistant to Head of School.  She will keep this information confidential and ensure that only administrative leaders who are in a “need to know” position are alerted. This will help ensure that we take the appropriate steps consistent with county guidelines in our follow-up. Our goal is to ensure confidentiality for all, but it is going to be critical in the interest of community health and safety, that all families and employees comply with expectations around reporting to the school.

    2. Follow the recommendations of the public health agency or medical provider, which will likely be to follow CDPHE guidance, and self-quarantine for 2 weeks, if you have had prolonged contact of 10 or more minutes, in close proximity of 6 feet or less, with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
    1. Submit your self-report to your local public health agency. Colorado Academy is required to report to Jefferson County Health. If needed, Jefferson County would handle contact tracing to help limit the spread of the virus.
  • What will the policy be if there is a positive case during school? Will the entire school be closed or just a portion? How long will the closure last?

    In the event of a positive case, we work with our public health experts to determine the size of the possible exposure. With minimum exposure, we might only be closing for a short period of time for cleaning. If a broader exposure is suspected, the Jefferson County Public Health Department might indicate a longer closure. Either way, there would be recommended testing and extensive contact tracing to minimize transmission. For this reason reporting positive cases immediately helps prevent spread of COVID-19.
  • Are masks required? If so, will the blue/paper masks work?

    Yes, masks are required. Students are allowed to wear the paper masks, but they are designed to be thrown away at the end of each day, so cloth masks will reduce costs and waste. In the COVID Care Packages, CA provided a starter pack of lighter weight masks called BioMsk that are designed to be washed up to 10 times. Others have also asked about buffs. We are asking that students wear these only for athletics as they are usually just one layer of fabric. Cloth masks should be at least two layers. Our CA Bookstore also carries a supply of masks in different sizes.
  • Will CA provide masks?

    We recommend that students bring two clean masks to school with them each day. As a start, CA mailed home a starter kit of BioMsks with NBELYAX nanomolecules, designed to prevent contagion from pathogens. These masks are reusable and washable up to ten washings. Masks will also be available at CA if needed, and for sale in the CA Bookstore.
  • Are students assigned lockers?

    To avoid crowded areas in the hallways in Middle and Upper School, students will use backpacks and not lockers. Rolling backpacks are allowed. Lockers will be used in Lower School, and students will access them in staggered groups to adhere to social distancing guidelines. 
  • Are there policies about the safety/use of shared supplies—textbooks, handouts, etc.?

    Yes, we have reduced in the number and kind of materials that are shared. Items such as computer stations will be cleaned between each use. For other materials, students may have their own “sets” or “kits” to use to reduce the possibility of the spread of infection.

State of Colorado Response Phases & Public Health Orders

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Roadmap to In-Person Learning

    The State of Colorado has issued its roadmap to in-person learning in schools. 

    Read the document here.
  • Masks required in Colorado

    Colorado Governor Jared Polis has issued a statewide face mask order effective at midnight on July 17, 2020.

    On September 12, 2020, Governor Polis extended the mask order through October 12, 2020. Read the executive order.

    The mask mandate was amended in Executive Order D 2020-281 on December 14, 2020 until January 6, 2021. It may continue to be extended if necessary.

    Read Colorado's Back-to-School Task Force report on in-person learning.
  • Stay at Home

    Everyone is required to stay at home except for grocery shopping, exercise, and necessary activities. Only critical businesses can open.
  • Safer at Home

    While we are all still safer at home, we are also able to practice greater social distancing outdoors than in confined indoor spaces. Many businesses are open with restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect those at highest risk for severe illness.
  • Protect Our Neighbors

    The Protect Our Neighbors phase is the next phase after the Stay at Home and Safer at Home phases. In order to enter Protect Our Neighbors, communities must qualify by meeting scientifically established thresholds to:
    • Lower disease transmission levels;
    • Treat patients and handle the surge in need for intensive hospital care;
    • Conduct testing and effective case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak response. 
    In the Protect Our Neighbors phase, we must continue to support and provide protections for those who are most at risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, including people with underlying medical conditions, pregnant women, and those over the age of 65. This is the least restrictive phase before lifting further restrictions with the availability of a vaccine.
    Our community should be prepared for state and local public health orders to be extended, amended, or changed as needed to protect public health. This means we may move between the different levels during this pandemic. In all efforts, we must underscore for parents that our work is aimed at mitigating transmission and minimizing risk, not eliminating it altogether.

CA's COVID-19 Response

CA's COVID-19 Response Timeline

List of 15 frequently asked questions.

  • February 2021


    Sophomores, Juniors, and Seventh Graders return to full-time, on-campus learning.


    Sixth Graders return to full-time, on-campus learning; all students are now back on campus, full time.


    CA teachers begin getting COVID-19 vaccinations, per the State of Colorado's Phase 1B.2 distribution schedule.
  • January 2021


    CA begins on-campus serial testing of Middle and Upper School students.


    Seniors return to full-time, on-campus learning


    Freshmen, Eighth Graders return to full-time, on-campus learning
  • December 2020


    CA begins a trial run of on-campus student testing program, using the Yale SalivaDirect test.
  • November 2020


    Environments (surface swabbing) testing begins at CA.
  • October 2020


    CA begins partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado to regularly test all faculty and staff.


    CA provides off-campus testing for symptomatic or exposed students.
  • September 2020

    Week of September 1

    Middle and Upper School students return to CA's campus on the Flex schedule. The student body is divided into two groups—The Mustangs and The Rockies—and the groups alternate their days on campus, while the other group Zooms into classrooms.


    CA Seniors welcome the Freshmen class to the Upper School, with a socially distant celebration. This year's theme was Superheroes.


    CA brings back the entire Lower School for in-person, on-campus learning. LS students can still opt to continue learning remotely. Middle School and Upper School students remain on the CA Flex model.


    CA begins weekly wastewater testing as an early warning system to detect COVID.
  • August 2020


    CA announces its 2020-2021 Opening Plan that will begin in a fully remote fashion for one week for Lower School, and two weeks for Middle and Upper School, followed by a slow phase-in of bringing back partial groups of students, specific to each division.


    The school releases its COVID Safety Handbook that describes in detail how the community will work together to navigate school every day.


    CA opens the 2020-2021 school year in FLEX mode.


    As in-person school rolls out in all divisions, CA works with SchoolPass to develop a daily wellness check for all students and faculty.
  • July 2020



    The Horizons at CA program begins in-person learning on campus, implementing COVID safety best practices, including small groups, social distancing, and masks.


    CA hosts a webinar with Head of School Mike Davis and parents to share plans for school, explain safety protocols, and answer questions.
  • June 2020


    CA hosts virtual Continuations for Fifth and Eighth Grade students, complete with individual student tributes and photo essays capturing the year.


    CA hosts a virtual graduation in the morning, and in the afternoon, the first- ever diploma parade.


    CA begins to announce re-open plans, with three possible learning scenarios and a 9:30 a.m. late start for Upper School students for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • May 2020



    CA converts year-end events to virtual events, including Field Day, Alumni Reunions, Fifth and Eighth Grade Continuations, and Graduation.


    Last day of remote classes for Upper School students. AP Exams are administered at home. Lower and Middle School students complete class by May 29.
  • April 2020


    CA cancels student summer trip to the Dominican Republic.
  • March 2020


    CA’s Global Exchange partner in Greece announces that the Greek Ministry of Education has banned school trips abroad until the end of this academic year, because of concerns over COVID-19. Thus, the inbound visiting group of students from Pierce College in Athens cancels its springtime trip to CA. Also cancelled this week, trips to Ecuador and Costa Rica.


    A positive COVID-19 case is identified at another local independent school with close ties to CA. CA notifies its families on symptoms and closure protocols.


    CA faculty and staff take part in the first training on the Zoom video conferencing platform.


    CA cancels its Spring Break Upper School athletic trips. The school also cancels faculty and staff travel for professional conferences through April, and later, through the end of 2020.


    CHSAA suspends sports competitions through April; Mock Trial State competitions are canceled.



    Colorado Governor Jared Polis suspends all in-person learning in Colorado schools through April 17.


    Students “return” from Spring Break for virtual learning, with all 1,000 CA students participating in class via Zoom.


    CA launches Emergency Tuition Assistance Fund, and by the end of the school year, raises $350,000 to assist families suddenly in need of financial assistance in the wake of the pandemic.


    CA launches remote learning survey to gain feedback on use of remote learning.
  • February 2020


    CA appoints internal COVID task force and activates the school’s Crisis Management Team of employees and division heads to address the multiple aspects of our response.


    CA issues health reminders regarding hand hygiene to CA parents.


    CA postpones a planned June trip to China as part of the school’s Global Travel and Exchange Program, as well as a previously scheduled visit of Spanish students from Madrid’s Colegio Virgen de Europa. CA finalizes plans for faculty training to switch to remote learning.
  • January 2020


    The patient who becomes the first confirmed U.S. case leaves Wuhan and arrives in the U.S., carrying the coronavirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirm that first case in the U.S. on January 21.


    CA reminds parents about children’s health, exclusion guidelines, and precautions surrounding COVID-19.


    CA shares message with faculty, staff, and students about the celebration of Chinese New Year and the school’s intolerance of Anti-Asian racism.
  • December 2019


    Doctors in China document admit a patient to Wuhan Central Hospital with a lung infection that was resistant to anti-flu drugs. Wuhan health officials later learn that a new coronavirus was causing the illness.


FAQ - Athletics

List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • What are the modified season dates for CHSAA sports?

    Note: CHSAA updated the season dates on December 7, 2020 in response to the rise in COVID cases in Colorado.
    • Season A : August 10-October 17 (Dates vary slightly for each sport) Boys Golf, Boys Tennis, and Cross Country
    • Season B: January 18-March 20 (Dates vary slightly for each sport) Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Ice Hockey, and Girls Swimming
    • Season C: March 15-May 8 (Dates vary slightly for each sport) Field hockey, Boys Soccer, Girls Volleyball
    • Season D: April 26-June 26 (Dates vary slightly for each sport) Baseball, Girls Golf, Boys Lacrosse, Girls Lacrosse, Girls Tennis, and Girls Soccer
  • What is Mustang Vision?

    Mustang Vision is a new live stream of basketball and volleyball games played in CA's Main Gym. Because spectators are not allowed during COVID, parents and fans can now watch the games streamed by our partner, NFHS Network. Get the details here.
  • What’s the current protocol for spectators during home competitions?

    As of April 2021, we are allowing two spectators per student-athlete to attend a contest in which the student-athlete is competing. Spectators will be required to complete a form through a QR code using their smartphone at all games.
  • What are your current protocols for masks and COVID-19 prevention?

    Outdoors, all athletes and coaches are required to wear face coverings except when engaging in strenuous exercise during interscholastic competition. Medical exceptions and alternatives to face covering will be made on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with the Colorado Academy athletic director. Athletes will attempt to maintain at least a 6-foot distance when not wearing masks. This would include, but is not limited to, when masks are removed for mask breaks or for activities such as drinking.

    Indoors, all athletes and coaches are required to wear face coverings at all times during practices and competition. Medical exceptions and alternatives to face covering will be made on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with the Colorado Academy athletic director. Athletes will attempt to maintain at least a 6-foot distance when not wearing masks. This would include, but is not limited to, when masks are removed for mask breaks or for activities such as drinking. Updated 4/13/21.
  • What are the protocols for locker room use?  Where will my child change if they need to change for an athletic practice?

    Locker rooms are closed for general use throughout the day. The locker rooms may be used with limited capacity and social distancing to change prior to and after practices. The use of individual lockers and showers are not allowed at this time. Nothing can be kept in a locker or the locker rooms overnight at this time.
  • What are the protocols for storing sports equipment if the locker rooms are not available?

    Students may drop off equipment between 7:45 a.m.- 3:45 p.m. at the Athletic Center for storage in a locked space. Students should take all personal items/equipment home following practice.
  • Will CA provide transportation for away games this year?

    If your child participates on a competitive team, CA typically provides transportation to and from all away games. With current COVID-19 guidelines recommending a limited number of school bus passengers, parents may be asked to provide their child with transportation to an after-school competition. Head coaches will provide parents with transportation information throughout the season. 
  • The CHSAA schedule has only a couple of days between when formal practices are allowed and the first competition. Will tryouts/team selections be completed within those few days or will there be an additional, earlier tryout period?

    Official team selections will be done during the timeframe allowed by CHSAA.  Ample opportunity will be available for the student athlete to be placed on the team where they will have the most success. A student athlete may be moved between teams after teams have been announced if a coach and the athlete agree that this is what is best for team dynamics and athlete success. 
  • Is there still an Upper School athletic requirement this year?

    No. CA will not require participation for athletic credit during the 2020-2021 school year. This also means that students do not need to apply for Independent Athletic Credit if participating in a sport/program away from CA. We still highly encourage students to participate in any of the athletic offerings at CA.
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