Dear DPS Community,
We are very excited to welcome our students and team members back to school in just a few weeks. As we prepare for the start of the school year, we have been monitoring the changing health conditions in the community and having discussions with experts at Denver Health on the safeguards we must have in place to start off the year strong. We are prioritizing health and safety and following Denver Health’s guidance — and we are doing everything we can to ensure we have a full year of in-person instruction and support for our students, with minimal disruptions.
Over the past weeks, there has been an increase in COVID rates in our community and in many areas across the state and country. As a result, in accordance with the guidance of our health experts, we are putting strong health safeguards and requirements into effect. Please watch this video with Denver Health’s Dr. Steve Federico to learn more about our comprehensive health measures.
Mask Requirements for the Start of School
- Masks will be required for all students, visitors, and staff while in all DPS schools and buildings, regardless of vaccination status. This mask requirement includes times when staff are meeting without students, regardless of vaccination status.
- Masks will not be required outside, since the risk of COVID transmission is significantly lower outdoors.
- The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is for universal masking, given the fact that vaccinated people can contract COVID (although with much less risk of severe illness) and can also spread the virus. And since the vaccine is not yet approved for children younger than 12, wearing masks will help us keep our youngest students safe.
Vaccines, Testing, and a Layered Approach to Health and Safety
- If you are eligible, please consider getting vaccinated. The COVID vaccine has proven to be extremely effective in reducing the risk of severe illness from the virus.
- Vaccinations for eligible individuals are widely available. We will continue to partner with Denver Health to encourage vaccinations and share information on vaccine clinics.
- COVID tests are also widely available and are another health measure that can help prevent the spread of the virus.
- Please review the DPS 5 – our essential health guidelines – which we’ve updated based on current conditions.
- We also continue to make upgrades to our ventilation and air filters in our buildings and are maintaining stringent cleaning routines across all of our facilities.
I also want to emphasize that we expect far fewer quarantine disruptions this school year, given the new CDPHE guidance that does not require quarantines for routine classroom exposures.
In combination with the city’s health order requiring vaccines for all school staff, this masking requirement provides a strong safeguard to help ensure a full year of in-person learning and support for our scholars. These strong health procedures will also help improve conditions, which would allow us to relax restrictions in our schools. But for now, we believe this mask requirement for all students and staff is the right thing to do for the health and safety of our community.
Thank you for trusting us with your students for the school year ahead. We will continue to stay in close contact with our trusted health partners and will re-evaluate our procedures as new information becomes available.
Dr. Alex Marrero