Adams School District 14 announced Thursday that students will be returning to class next week, but made it clear that the decision was against the desire of school and district leaders to wait another week before ending virtual learning.
Instead, they said, the district’s management company ordered students and staff to come to school on Tuesday – an opinion disputed by MGT Consulting – as the conflict over when to resume full-time education was only the latest round of feuds between two.
“This is just another example of behaviors that go beyond unprofessionalism and turn the line into vindictiveness,” said Robert Lundin, executive director of communications and special projects at Adams 14.
The relationship between Adams 14 and her state-authorized manager reached a new degree of animosity this week after it was revealed that the school board was suing the company for allegedly violating public records laws, voted to terminate the firm’s contract, and sent a notice to MGT Consulting. that his district manager, André Wright, can no longer contact the district or staff.
According to county emails obtained by The Denver Post, county officials have gone so far as to ban Wright from both his work email and school buildings.
“The tension over this decision is indicative of a larger problem, which is that the district is once again violating an order from the State Board of Education,” Wright said in a statement. “Earlier this week, the Superintendent inexplicably denied me access to district offices. This is the second time in six months that the county has blocked MGT despite the county agreeing that MGT is the lead partner. ”
Adams announced Jan. 7 that the district plans to transition all schools to virtual learning for at least a week amid a rapid rise in coronavirus infections in Adams County. The school district, located in Commerce City, has approximately 6,000 students.
The move was not unexpected, given that the highly contagious variant of omicron is infecting more and more Colorado residents, leading to a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. School officials in the Denver subway said they are doing everything they can to keep their buildings open for full-time instruction, but also warned parents to be prepared for individual schools or classes to go online as more employees fall ill.
Adams 14 is one of the first districts to move all schools to virtual learning, and last week the district told parents it would decide by Thursday whether to remain remote or resume in-person classes.
Adams 14 staff met on Thursday to discuss whether to open school buildings next week, ultimately deciding they want to wait another week to see what happens to the cases and give them more time to develop a system they could. would be used to move individual campuses or classes. distance learning based on specific metrics such as absenteeism, not the entire district.
The decision was supported by district directors, and Superintendent Karla Loria asked the school board and Wright, the MGT manager, to approve the recommendation by 3:00 pm, Lundin said.
At about 3:30 pm, Lundin sent an email to the directors stating that “Mr. Instead, Wright issued a directive stating that all instructions must be followed in person over the next week. No further explanation was provided, ”reads a copy of an email that was reviewed by The Post.
The newspaper did not see the original email sent by Wright or MGT Consulting, but another email sent at 4:20 pm by an MGT Consulting employee on Wright’s behalf – his email had been disabled – informed county staff that this week had been spent developing a plan and meeting the requirements of teachers related to containing the spread of the virus.
“This county has had ample time to do this work, and any additional time negatively impacts the community,” the email said. “I recommend returning to face-to-face training on Monday until further notice.”
Lundin said MGT Consulting’s response was a “directive” that the school district was required to follow, and noted that it came two days after the school board voted for the second time to sever relations with the company. (After the first time, the State Board of Education forced the county to work with the company and briefly revoked Adams 14 accreditation.)
“We have no idea what the consequences will be,” Lundin said. “It’s understandable that families will feel insecure and lose confidence. Children should not be caught in the crossfire of adults’ agendas. ”
MGT Consulting said it made a recommendation.
“Having assessed the current situation at Adams 14, I recommend that schools reopen for in-person instruction next week,” Wright said in a statement. “Our schools and offices take a lot of precautions, and personal learning is very important for students, especially after the disruptions of the past two years.”
At least some of the controversy over the resumption of face-to-face classes stems from the fact that MGT Consulting’s response came from Wright.
On Tuesday, the school board issued a notice to the company saying that while it expects MGT Consulting to operate until its contract expires on April 11, Wright is no longer allowed to contact district staff. A notice received by The Post says Wright violated his contract by firing an employee “outside of his authority.”
“The danger is that this school return email that was sent out was based on Andre Wright’s endorsement and the district had previously notified MGT that Andre Wright should not have any other contact with the district or district staff,” said Joe Salazar. , attorney representing the Adams 14 school board in his legal action against the company.
He declined to comment on the charges against Wright. MGT Consulting declined The Post’s request for an interview with Wright.
The Adams 14 School Board is seeking publicly available documents in a lawsuit related to the company’s investigation of a “personnel issue.” The investigation occurred due to the county conducting its own financial audit, the results of which were not released to the public.
A hearing on the claim is scheduled for January 21.