Health Standards and Protocols for In-Person

  • If a student or staff member is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or has been in close contact with a confirmed or suspected case, notify your schools’ COVID-19 Coordinators. There are two COVID-19 coordinators at every school: One is your school nurse, and the other is chosen by school administrators. Your COVID-19 Coordinators will help make important decisions about whether the student or staff needs to quarantine, isolate or return to regular activities based on the COVID-19 Screening and Testing decision tree. For guidance on selecting COVID-19 Coordinators at your school, click here.

  • School Health Protocols

    • Health Screening Protocols for Students: See this one-pager for an overview of school health protocols. Everyone entering a DPS building, including students and staff, must engage in a daily health screen. Complete details on the health screening process are available here. 

    • Health Screening Protocols for Staff: All employees must fill out the COVID-19 Daily Health Screening form. See this Commons page for complete details.

    • Health Office Regulations:  Each school must have a health office with 1 cot per 400 students, a dedicated bathroom within 50ft for health office use only, a sink with running hot and cold water, easily cleanable surfaces, and an isolated area for sick students to be separated from well students. Schools should also designate additional areas for isolating students, should there not be enough capacity in the health office. Due to the scale of effort required, some of the 200+ schools are not fully complete. In these instances, principals will be notified with expected completion dates and related contingency plans.

    • Immunizations: Through in-school immunization programs and collaboration with healthcare systems, we will continue to provide access to current vaccines (influenza, measles (MMR), and pertussis (DTaP).

  • COVID Mitigation & Response Protocols

    • School-Based COVID site coordinators: All schools must designate a COVID site coordinator. See complete details, including how to identify your COVID site coordinator in this guidance

    • COVID Response Team: We have a dedicated COVID response team responsible for all protocols related to COVID prevention and mitigation.

    • Protocols for positive cases in a cohort: See this CDPHE guidance here

    • Contact Tracing: Our district works closely with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment and has a strong process in place for reporting infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. We will continue to work with those in the health department so that they can contact trace as needed to help ensure the health and safety of our staff and students. 

    • District Sponsored COVID-Testing: Visit this page for details.

    • For School Leaders: COVID-19 Staff Case Communications Protocol for School Leaders

  • Classroom Health Standards

    • Outdoor classrooms: Schools are encouraged to consider outdoor classes when possible. 

    • Cohorts: For complete details on cohorting guidance, please see the Scheduling and Cohorts page.

    • Seating: Classroom seating should be revised to maximize distancing between students as much as possible. Desks will be rearranged so that students are all facing the same direction and community desks will be removed. See the Building Readiness page for more details.

    • Signage: Signs will be posted in buildings promoting social distancing and hygiene protocols. Templates for signs are available here

    • Indoor Singing & Wind Instruments: Indoor singing and wind instruments are not allowed and schools should make adjustments to music and other courses accordingly.

    • Outdoor Music Activities Only: Outdoors is the safest place to sing, speak, and play wind instruments MAINTAINING to the following conditions:

      • Physical distancing of 15 feet
      • Musicians wearing and singing in masks
      • Instruments must be in in bags with bell covers
      • Musician perform in a single line facing one direction
      • Perform no longer than 30 minutes increments

      Indoor singing and wind instruments are not allowed at this time. We will reevaluate with Denver Health after a we have a successful first month of in person return.

  • Building/Campus Health Standards

    • Physical Distancing: Physical distancing will be maintained wherever possible. This includes maintaining 3ft between students and 6ft between adults. When you know in advance that 3 feet distance from students isn’t possible, use a physical barrier like Plexiglas or other additional precautions, such as adding a face shield in addition to a mask. Face coverings are required in all indoor settings with the exception of lunch. Face coverings are required in all outdoor settings unless more than 6ft distance can be maintained. 

    • Hallway Traffic Control: To avoid mixing of cohorts and maximize social distancing, schools should stagger/coordinate start/end time times as well as passing periods. Schools should clearly mark one way hallways and in-building spacing for bathroom lines, pick up and dismissal locations, bus loading, etc. Signage templates can be found here.

    • Closed Campus: High schools campuses will be closed. Students will not be able to leave to pick up food offsite. Please see the Food Services page for more details on how food capacity needs will be met. 

    • Arrival and Departures: Arrivals and departures should be designed to conduct arrival symptom screening, maintain physical distance, ensure all are wearing masks or face shields on school property, and ensure no visitors or family enter school buildings past the front office. To accomplish this schools should consider staggered arrival and departure schedules, the use of multiple school entrances, as well as dedicated health screeners.  For schools receiving students via DPS transportation, it is advisable to plan for those students arriving together as one of your staggered entrances as opposed to directing them to different locations when they arrive.  Students who attend a center program must attend school the same amount of time as general education students, though staggered arrivals and dismissals may produce slightly different schedules across the school.

    • Recess:

      • It is strongly recommended that recess takes place outside as much as possible.
        • Adults that supervise recess outdoors, wear a mask, and maintain 6 feet of distance DO NOT count toward student/adult ratios.
        • It is important to communicate with families to ensure students bring their cold weather clothes daily.
        • While there is not a standardized district-wide temperature that triggers indoor recess, our recommendation is that temperatures below 20 degrees trigger an indoor recess, as that aligns with our ECE guidance as well.  Schools may work with their communities to norm on alternative written guidance.   
        • If recess is outside and 6 feet distance can be consistently maintained during activities, face masks can be removed.  If 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained, masks must be worn.  A minimum of 3 feet must be maintained at all times.
        • Recess and PE will be staggered to avoid mixing of cohorts.
      • If indoor recess is necessary:
        • Recess supervisors DO count toward student/adult ratios.
        • All standard indoor safety guidance must be followed, including wearing masks at all times and maintaining 3 feet of distance between students.
        • Students within a cohort can share games or equipment during indoor recess and must wash their hands at the end of recess.
        • All equipment and games must be disinfected (wiped down) after each use.
        • Recess and PE will be staggered to avoid mixing of cohorts.
    • Physical Education:

      • It is strongly recommended that PE be held outside as much as possible.
      • If PE is outside and 6 feet distance can be consistently maintained during activities, face masks can be removed.  If 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained, masks must be worn.  A minimum of 3 feet must be maintained at all times.
      • If PE must be indoors due to extenuating circumstances, all health and safety guidance must be followed including wearing masks and maintaining at least 3 feet of distance. 
      • Cohorts may share PE equipment during class and must wash their hands at the end of class.
      • Equipment must be disinfected (wiped down) after each use and in between cohorts.
      • Physical Education teachers DOcount toward student/adult ratios.
      • Recess and PE will be staggered to avoid mixing of cohorts.
    • Large Space Usage (cafeteria, gym, library, etc):

      • Large spaces on campus can be used by multiple cohorts following the below guidance:
        • Three cohorts of students enter the gym through separate doors and sit in separate corners of the space during morning arrival.  Students maintain 3 feet of distance within their cohort and there is at least 12 feet feet of distance between cohorts.  They use separate doors and exit at staggered times to walk to their classrooms. 
        •  There must be at least 12 feet of distance between each cohort, if a physical barrier is possible, it can be used in addition, and walkways and doorways must be assigned to limit any mixing 
    • Mealtimes:
      • Elementary: Students (and adults) may not share food. All meals will be eaten in the classroom. Meals can be served either in the classroom or in the cafeteria. If served in cafeterias, students will get the food at a designated time with their cohort and take it back to the classroom. Students will need to wash hands before and after eating.
      • Secondary:
        • Student Cohorts: Students are able to eat in large central spaces such as the cafeteria, gym, or foyer as long as seating charts are maintained along with all safety measures such as distancing and masking when students are not eating. All students must be supervised during mealtimes.
        • Closed Campus: High schools campuses will be closed. Students will not be able to leave to pick up food offsite. Please see the Food Services page for more details on how food capacity needs will be met.
        • Seating Charts: Seating charts must be enforced during lunch time in order to support targeted contact identification that must occur. Because mealtimes are unmasked, any person within 12 feet of someone who tests positive for COVID will be considered a close contact and may need to quarantine. (During masked times of the day, a distance of 6 feet is used to determine close contacts.)
        • Utilize Additional Space: It is recommended to take advantage of all additional space in a classroom in order to distance students as much as possible from each other during mealtimes.  6 feet of distance minimum is requierd, and ideally 12 feet.
        • Food Distribution: Students (and adults) may not share food. Meals can be served at multiple stations throughout the school. Students will need to wash hands before and after eating.
    • Libraries: Libraries will be closed though librarians can bring books to students and/or students can access books in their classroom. Books will need to be disinfected (wiped down) after use. 

    • Field Trips/Overnights: Not allowed for first quarter. 5th grade day trips to Balarat will be allowed starting Q2 following all health and safety protocols and with the approval of the teacher. 

    • Materials: All papers, pencils, markers, chromebooks should be for one individual student and not shared. When possible, assign classroom books to individual students.  If shared, books must be disinfected (wiped down) after each use.

    • Lockers: Lockers will not be used; students should bring items to their classroom. Lockers may be used in limited circumstances based on needs related to IEP and 504 Plans. 

    • Fans: Fans that are movable, including swamp cooler type, shall not be used.

    • Faculty/Teacher Lounges and Communal Kitchens: These may be used but access to these should be limited so that 6ft distance can be maintained at all times and staff must wear face masks. Team members cannot congregate in communal spaces, including faculty lounges or break rooms – however, you will have access to the kitchenette area, refrigerator and microwave. Please use sanitizing wipes on appliances before and after use, and it is recommended that you use paper towels to open refrigerator and microwave doors. 

  • Transportation Health Standards

    • Seating: Only one student per seat with a maximum of 24 students per bus. Exceptions will be made for siblings who may share one seat. 

    • Health Screening:  A guardian, parent, or caring adult of elementary aged students will be required to remain at the bus stop to ensure the student has completed the health screening before boarding bus.

    • Masks: Bus drivers and students will wear a mask on the bus for the duration of the ride.

  • Adult and Staff Health Standards

    • Staff Movement: Staff are able to move between cohorts as outlined in the cohort guidance but should maintain 6 ft distance from students and wear masks, with exceptions only for health or IEP requirements.  When 6 feet of distance is not possible, mandatory face covering (except where doing so would inhibit the individual’s health) and all guidelines around hand hygiene, disinfection, cohorting, and daily symptom checks will be followed.  Staff must track the times and locations of the classes they are in.   

    • Itinerant and Other Central Support Staff: Itinerant teachers should avoid visiting more than one school in a given day, and the number of schools in their caseload during a 14 day period should be limited to the extent possible in addition to achieving the limits of how many classrooms can be supported at a time. Staff must wear masks and keep 6 ft apart from other adults and 3ft from children. Staff must wash hands or use hand sanitizer when they enter each building and each time they move in and out of classrooms. 

    • Visitors: To minimize health risks, parents/guardians are discouraged from entering DPS buildings at this time. Parent/guardians who have a reason to enter the building will only be allowed in the front office and will need to follow health screening protocols prior to entering the building. Only school staff, approved district staff, approved contractors, students participating in approved programming, and individuals accessing a School-Based Health Clinic or Mental Health Center, who have completed a health screening and follow health protocols are currently allowed past the front office.

    • Children of Staff in DPS Buildings while DPS is in Remote: To minimize health risks prior to reopening our schools to in-person learning, staff members choosing to work from their classrooms or school buildings cannot bring their children or any other children/adults who do not work for DPS into the building, with the exception of children who are enrolled in approved programming. Staff who have registered their children in child care will need to bring their children home at the end of the child care day at noon. Staff with children in child care who have unique circumstances for the rest of the day after 12 p.m. can ask for an exemption from their school leaders to keep their children in their classroom for the rest of day. As a reminder, no one is required to report to their school or office unless explicitly directed by their supervisor.
    • Accommodations for vulnerable staff: DPS will provide accommodations in alignment with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or under the Governor’s current order regarding “Vulnerable Individuals.” Visit the COVID-19 Accommodations page for more information

    • District Provided Professional Learning: All district provided professional learning will continue to be virtual until further notice. 

    • Adult Gatherings & Meetings: Planning meetings, team meetings, professional development etc. must be conducted virtually to minimize the potential for COVID-19 to spread across school staff (see exception below). Any informal gatherings of adults must follow public health guidelines that will be regularly updated here.

    • Mandatory trainings that require brief physical contact (eg NCI training: Mandatory trainings that require brief physical contact is allowed provided that participants take the following additional precautions:

      • Must occur outdoors (preferred) or in a big space with good air exchange. 
      • Must use one or more of the following precautions in addition to the DPS 5 precautions: Groups of less than 10, Face shields in addition to masks, negative COVID test recommended within 72 hours of training.
    • Volunteers: Non DPS staff can volunteer in schools under the following conditions:
      • Only allowed to volunteer outdoors (no indoors) and for activities that will not count towards the adult cohort max limit (i.e. can volunteer to help with recess coverage, pick-up and dismissal, etc. but cannot volunteer to cover lunch supervision)
      • Must practice the DPS 5 at all times, including:
        • Must wear a mask at all times
        • Must keep 6ft distance from all adults and students and not be near any individual student or adults for more than 15 min.
      • School must track the volunteer activity & the activity must be scheduled in advance
      • Volunteer must comply with standard volunteer processes

  • Disinfecting Protocols

    • Cleaning: Clean frequently touched surfaces in schools and on buses at least daily and between use as much as possible. Remove toys or classroom items that cannot be easily cleaned or sanitized (plush toys).  See the Building Readiness page for complete details on sanitization protocols. 

    • Playground equipment: Due to low transmission rates via physical objects, outdoor playground equipment will not be disinfected. Students and staff should ensure hands are washed frequently after use of any playground equipment.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & Hygiene Protocols

    • Masks: All adults and students are required to wear masks or face covering when on school grounds, with the exception of time for eating or other designated “mask break” that would take place outside, and except where doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, in which case reasonable accommodations will be made to maintain safety and health. All persons should follow the CDC guidelines for facial coverings. We Please note, face coverings must cover over your nose and mouth. Complete guidance on mask usage is available here

    • Gloves: Teachers and other staff will not be asked to wear gloves. Cleaning and kitchen staff, as well as others such as health care providers, OT/PTs, must wear gloves based on health guidelines.

    • Face Shields: Schools will receive face shields that can be used with a mask. Please note, face coverings must cover over your nose and mouth, and a face shield is not a substitute for a mask.

    • Handwashing: All individuals will be asked to wash hands upon arrival and at least once every two hours and/or be given hand sanitizer. 

    • Health hygiene education: Staff will reinforce safe and healthy hygiene protocols (e.g. covering coughs and sneezes with tissues or elbows) with students, staff and families. Signage will also be posted in schools reinforcing the importance of hygiene protocols. Schools can access templates for signs here, should they choose to add additional signs than those already provided.  

    • Delivery of PPE to Schools: Strategic Sourcing has purchased masks, face shields, thermometers, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray to help maintain a safe environment and prepare the return to school.  A model has been developed to guide allocation and distribution of PPE, taking into account the number of schools, number of teaching stations, enrollment and other measurements. PPE will be delivered to the schools by the end of July via the Enterprise Management team; similar to the spring deliveries. Strategic Sourcing will continue to monitor throughout the year to ensure schools have what they need to maintain a safe environment. We are still awaiting several deliveries so the following figures are not confirmed but we hope to deliver:

      • 1 thermometer for every 40 students

      • 2 cloth masks per student (to allow for in-between washings)

      • Face shields

      • Hand sanitizer

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