Vail Christian High School unveils reopening plan for 2020-21 school year |

Vail Christian High School unveils reopening plan for 2020-21 school year

Luke Vlaar rides shotgun during Vail Christian’s in-person, in-car commencement in May. Vail Christian High School intends to return to in-person learning in August.
Toni Axelrod |

Vail Christian High School in Edwards plans to return to in-classroom learning for the 2020-2021 school year. School officials recently announced that students and faculty will have the opportunity to return to campus on August 17. 

Vail Christian, like other schools in Eagle County, transitioned to online learning for the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted stay-at-home orders. For the coming school year, an expanded online learning component will connect on-campus participants with students or teachers who need to participate remotely. 

“While we don’t have all the answers about what the future holds in terms of public health, we are confident that we have enough information to balance the needs of our students, their families and our staff in a thoughtful and safe manner,” said Steve O’Neil, Vail Christian’s head of school, in a news release. “We believe our comprehensive reopening plan coupled with the intimate size and nature of Vail Christian High School make this blend of on or off-campus learning safe, effective and honors the important role that social interaction plays in students’ learning and overall happiness.”

O’Neil said that the school’s board of directors has approved spending to enhance existing online learning capabilities, hire substitute teachers, increase internet bandwidth and provide IT support for students and faculty to further ensure seamless remote learning for students or teachers who can’t or choose not to be in class. 

“Our goal is ‘anyone, anytime, anywhere’ — which to us means regular ‘synchronous’ class schedules and seamless interactions between on and off-campus participants,” he said. “Anyone can be quarantined, or learning remotely, from anywhere at any given time and the curriculum is designed so that nothing is missed by ‘joining class’ remotely. Beyond the current pandemic, it’s our belief that this type of interaction will characterize the way business is done in the future and better prepare our students for college and their professional lives.”

Synchronous class schedules will be from 8 a.m. to 3:12 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 12:12 p.m. on Fridays. Whether in person or remote, students will be expected to attend and participate in all classes in which they are enrolled and class curricula are designed for in-person and remote interaction and participation alike.

Some things will be noticeably different on campus. Students and faculty will wear face coverings in common areas inside the building but will not be required to do so once in class and seated. Hand sanitizer stations will be at each classroom door and students and faculty will be asked to utilize them upon entry and exit of the classroom. Self temperature checks will be encouraged. 

“In short, the reopening plan is extensive, dynamic and encompasses everything from facility cleaning to quarantine and social distancing protocol. We will continue to follow and in some cases exceed CDC and state/local public health guidelines as we further develop and adapt our plans,” O’Neil said. “We take the safety of our students, parents, faculty, staff and overall community very seriously and are confident that we have the resources and space to move forward with reopening for classes on August 17. Our goal is to provide our students with the high-quality education they deserve in a safe environment that honors the tradition of Back to School. Financial aid for the coming school year is also available through July 17, 2020. We encourage all students and families interested in learning more to inquire.”

A complete version of the Vail Christian High School 2020-21 school year reopening plan can be found on the school’s website at

For more information about Vail Christian High School, contact Director of Admissions Heather Downey at or 970-926-3015. General information can also be found at

Support Local Journalism