Dear DPS Community,
As we approach Thanksgiving, I know most of you join me in looking forward to a little bit of a break. It’s been another difficult and draining year — for our students, who are working hard at school and working through the adjustments that come with in-person learning during a pandemic; for our dedicated staff, who are giving tirelessly to support our students while dealing with significant staffing shortages at work and often other strains at home related to the pandemic; and for our families, who are navigating all of the changes and challenges — at home, at their children’s school, and at their own workplace.
While it’s been wonderful to have schools back open for full, in-person learning this year, it’s taken an exceptional amount of determination and strength for so many.
As a way of showing our appreciation to our community and giving families additional opportunities to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccine now available to young children, we will be starting the Thanksgiving break a day early. DPS leadership has decided to make Friday, Nov. 19, a day off of school across the school district. All district-run schools and offices will be closed. (Families whose children attend charter schools are asked to check with their school regarding plans for Nov. 19, as some charter schools have decided to remain open.)
If you are a Discovery Link, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, or Scholars Unlimited family, you will be receiving additional communication about camp opportunities for your students.
As we look at the ongoing fight against COVID and the steps we are all taking to keep our schools open for in-person learning, we know a critical tool in that fight is getting as many community members vaccinated as possible. Our partners at Denver Health have continuously emphasized that getting vaccinated is the strongest and most effective action we can take to end the pandemic. And the vaccine is now available to everyone ages 5 and older.
This decision regarding Nov. 19 is also in line with the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education, which is urging school districts to provide paid time off to staff to get their own children vaccinated.
By starting Thanksgiving break one day early, we’re also hoping to extend a “thank you” to our DPS staff members, who have been working tirelessly through another challenging year, to give them time to focus on their health and self-care.
We’ve seen very strong compliance among DPS staff in meeting the requirements of the city’s public health order on vaccinations, and I’m so grateful for that. We now turn our attention to our families and our young learners — to make sure they have complete and thorough information on the availability of the vaccine for children over the age of 5.
Please consider using this additional time to take advantage of the opportunity to have family members vaccinated. Learn more about the vaccine and see opportunities to receive the vaccine here. This is so critical to providing the healthiest learning conditions possible and ensuring our schools are able to run at full strength to serve our scholars.
If you have any questions, please contact the FACE Helpline at 720-423-3054 or FACEHelpline@dpsk12.org.
Thank you for continuing to be a foundation of support and a tremendous source of strength for our scholars and our community.
Dr. Alex Marrero