Dear DPS Community,
We’re excited for the start of the second quarter this week. As we prepare to welcome elementary students back into our buildings, I wanted to provide you with a summary of the important health measures we will have in place (and as a reminder, middle and high schools are continuing with remote instruction for most students to start the second quarter. Special-education center programs, newcomer centers will open for in-person support; remote learning centers will also continue operating in secondary schools. Families with students who attend charter schools should check with their school.) As COVID-19 case numbers in Denver have been rising over the past three weeks, it is more important than ever for each of us to do everything we can to keep the DPS community safe by wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and maintaining physical distance from others. (Click here for DPS COVID-19 Health and Safety Resources.)
Daily Health Screening Process and Illness Prevention
The most important way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is for students and staff to stay home if they are not feeling well or are experiencing symptoms, including loss of taste or smell, fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, abdominal pain, fatigue, muscle aches, and/or headache. For everyone’s safety, anyone entering a building, including students and staff, must complete a daily health screening. All adults and students must show evidence of having completed and passed a symptom screening prior to entering a DPS building. Health screenings can be done at home before coming to school. Schools may also conduct in-person screenings at the school, including temperature checks, before students enter the building.
Expectations for Mask Wearing
All adults and students are required to wear masks (cloth face-coverings) over their nose and mouth when on school grounds, with the exception of time for eating or other designated “mask breaks” that would take place outside. Masks will also be required for students riding the bus to/from school. Face masks are an important step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with everyday preventive actions and physical distancing in public settings. Gaiters and bandanas are not recommended face coverings.
Physical Distancing and Student Groups/”Cohorts”
Students will maintain a minimum of 3 feet of distance from one another and from adults. Adults will maintain 6 feet of distance from other adults, and 3 feet of distance from students. Classrooms will be set up to follow our health and safety guidelines. Classroom seating will be revised to maximize distancing between students as much as possible.
A “cohort” is a set group of students who participate in a class or activity together for several weeks. Elementary students can be in a cohort of up to 35 students, as long as they maintain three feet of distance from one another and from adults and follow mask guidance.
Health Support for Students
Denver Health is providing support for families whose students are not feeling well and are not able to attend school because they did not pass the daily health screening. Support is available through any of Denver Health’s School-Based Health Centers. Denver Health is also providing free COVID-19 testing if a student is symptomatic and has been screened and recommended for a test. The primary goal of testing is to provide the safest environment for in-person learning and for the district to be able to adequately respond and limit the potential exposure and spread. Access to testing also creates a proper chain of information to public health officials to conduct contact tracing and provide guidance on quarantining. For more information, please call the School Based Health Clinic Information Line at 303-602-8958.
Thank you for all of your support and understanding as we continue to prioritize health and safety and adjust to changing COVID-19 conditions in the community. We know there are likely to be more shifts and adjustments ahead, in order to safeguard students and staff, and we will do our best to maximize in-person opportunities while following the guidance of our health partners.
Together, let’s take care of ourselves and each other, to help make sure our students have a great second quarter.