Dear DPS Community,
Today, Mayor Hancock announced a new “Home by 10” public health order in Denver, intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the broader community. I have spoken with both Mayor Hancock and Bob McDonald, the executive director of the Denver Department of Public Health and the Environment about how important these orders are so that schools can offer in-person learning as much as possible. I let them know how much I appreciate their efforts to enforce new orders to stop the spread of COVID-19 without further impacting schools. Our students and schools have already lost too much time and as a Denver community, we owe it to our young people to help drive down the COVID-19 rates as soon as possible. We only have 10 more days until Thanksgiving and then three short weeks until winter break. We are committed to making these valuable learning opportunities for our students.
After reviewing the data — both in Denver County and specific to DPS — with our trusted advisors at Denver Health, we will continue to support our ECE through second graders with in-person learning, as well as our students in center-based programs. Our third through 12th graders will remain remote. Families whose students attend a charter school should check with their own school for their plan.
Denver Health experts fully support our decision. In their review of the data, they have found very low transmission rates within our schools, whether among our youngest learners or their educators and support staff. According to Dr. Bill Burman, Director of Denver Public Health, “Denver Public Health believes it is still possible for schools to be safe places for both students and staff, even at a time when COVID-19 is very active in the community.” Our youngest learners benefit the most from in-person learning, as they work to develop fundamental literacy and social-emotional skills. The same is true for our students with disabilities who need in-person support. So while the health experts believe the health conditions are safe, we will keep ECE-2 grade, special education, newcomer and remote learning support centers open for in person instruction with their peers and teachers.
Of course, change has been the one constant throughout the pandemic. We will continue to monitor our DPS-specific data very closely, and to keep the health and safety of our entire community — students, families, and staff — our top priority. You can see the latest data for both Denver County and for DPS on our COVID-19 Dashboard.
As we move through this uncertain and challenging time together, the most important thing each and every one of us can do is follow health and safety guidelines: Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Wash your hands frequently. Keep physical distance. Stay home if you are sick. Refrain from meeting with people outside your family as much as possible. And now, follow the “Home by 10” order.
As always, thank you for your flexibility, patience, and willingness to do what it takes to keep our community safe.