Our DPS Weekly: Our Decision on COVID-19 Response

Mar. 13, 2020
Student painting flowers on a canvas
Picture from Contemporary Learning Academy

Dear Team DPS,

The best part of my job is working with all of the wonderful people in Team DPS. Our teachers, our school leaders, our support staff, our families and especially our students. Which is why it’s important to me that we do everything we can to ensure that everyone in Team DPS is safe. Yesterday, we made the really hard decision to start spring break two weeks early, in order to make sure we’re taking the right precautions to safeguard our students and community against the COVID-19 outbreak. It was something we thought long and hard about. I know how important our schools are — as both learning centers and community anchors.

After conferring with city and state health officials and discussing with our Board of Education, DPS staff, and other school district leaders, we simply felt the right thing to do was to move the start of spring break up to Monday, March 16, in order to take the strongest precautions necessary to prevent further spread of the virus.

We have also heard from our city health partners that it is extremely important for students, families and staff to stay home as much as possible. The less that people travel or gather together in public places, the better. This will help to decrease the spread of the disease and lessen the impact on our community.

Today was the last regular school day until Tuesday, April 7. School buildings will be open on Monday and Tuesday of next week, March 16 and 17. There will be minimum, adequate staff at our schools to help families with collecting whatever they need — books, medications, school supplies — for the extended break.

More information on our extended spring break is available on the DPS website, including information about sites that will be set up as Grab-and-Go Meal Centers providing free breakfast and lunch throughout the break. And additional information for families about the supports available during the break can be found here.

I’m so going to miss seeing our kids and educators. But my spirits have been enormously lifted today by the outpouring of support we’ve already started receiving from the wonderful Denver community and kind hearts and souls from around the country. The generosity has been staggering — the selfless giving of time, money, food, transportation, and well wishes.

Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out! We have set up a Food Security Fund at the DPS Foundation — our philanthropic partner — to help streamline the process, ensuring funds are allocated where needed most and with the greatest speed.

We will continue to update you on our website, through email, and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts about the new supports and opportunities available throughout the break.

My own emotions have been on a roller coaster the past few days as we have all grappled with the prospect of COVID-19 and the impact to our community and families. I have been fortified by the many moments of caring and kindness and I have no doubt that this will continue throughout the break. We are all lucky to have such a caring community here in Denver. Thank you for that … and for everything you do for our children.

Warm regards,