Short on staff, Denver assigns campus security guards to work as class aides

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More than craiebeat.org.

The Denver School District has reassigned campus security guards to work in elementary classrooms as the district grapples with staff shortages during the pandemic. The move has raised concerns for at least one advocate for students with disabilities who have discovered the practice.

Most Denver students are learning online due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the city. But Denver Public Schools have kept elementary schools open to serve preschool through second grade students. Special programs for students with disabilities also remain open for in-person learning, as do programs for students new to the United States.

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However, staffing the classrooms proved difficult. Some teachers and paraprofessionals have requested to work from home due to underlying health issues. The district is telling staff who work in schools to stay home if they have symptoms. Besides, nearly 400 employees were in home quarantine on Friday because they had been exposed to the virus.

To help fill in the gaps, the district requires staff who normally work at its headquarters to work in schools at least one day a week – as teachers if they have a teaching license, or performing their duties. ‘other tasks if they don’t have any. The district is also redeploying its campus security guards, who are unarmed security guards who typically work in middle and high schools.

Thirty-four campus security guards are currently working in elementary school classrooms, Denver Public Schools spokeswoman Winna MacLaren said.

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Susan W. Lloyd

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