Dear DPS Community,
Today, the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment announced that the public health order requiring masks in schools will expire at the end of the day on Friday, Feb. 25. Masks are still required in all indoor school settings until that date. The decision by DDPHE means that, beginning Monday, Feb. 28, masks will no longer be required but will be strongly recommended for all students, staff, and visitors across DPS.
Throughout the pandemic, DPS has worked closely with our state and local health partners, including DDPHE and Denver Health. Our COVID-19 plan and procedures continue to be guided by their medical and public health expertise. Our health partners made this decision based on high rates of immunity and lower rates of severe disease. We have a very high vaccination rate in our community; about 80% of Denver residents ages 5 and older are vaccinated. DPS also is in full compliance, across all schools and worksites, with the city’s vaccine mandate.
“Coming out of Omicron, we’re now at a different phase of the pandemic,” said Dr. Steven Federico, Director of Pediatrics for Denver Health and our close partner on our COVID response team. “The focus moving forward needs to be on vaccination—including boosters for teens and adults, as well staying home and getting tested when we’re sick. The lifting of this mandate does not mean that individuals should not or cannot mask.”
I am so tremendously grateful to the entire DPS community for coming together during the pandemic to follow the guidelines set forth by our health agencies and to do our best to adapt to changes, always while helping to ensure the healthiest conditions in our buildings for our scholars, our educators, and each other. If you or your family members have not yet been vaccinated or boosted, please do so as soon as possible, as it remains the best way to protect our children, families, and neighbors.
We will continue to work closely with our health partners, and we will remain flexible and diligent as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.
There are ongoing discussions between public officials and the state about changes to quarantine and reporting as rates decline. And we will also be providing updated health and safety guidance in the coming days for meetings, Central Support sites, and athletic and other school events.
Thank you again for your patience and perseverance as we continue to support our scholars, schools, and each other.
Dr. Alex Marrero
Superintendent, Denver Public Schools