Dear Team DPS,
This week, it was wonderful to have students and teachers back in early childhood education (ECE) center classrooms, where we know our youngest learners benefit the most from hands-on learning and social interaction with caring educators. Next week, our elementary schools will welcome back all ECE students. We truly appreciate the efforts of our students, families, and staff to carefully follow our Health and Safety protocols, which are essential to keeping our entire community as safe as possible.
Returning to In-Person Learning Safely and Gradually
As we have throughout the pandemic, DPS continues to work closely with health experts and partners at Denver Health and other local and state officials to plan for a safe and gradual return to in-person learning. We encourage you to check back at our Current COVID Conditions and Readiness Indicator website to see data provided directly from Denver Health and updated daily.
Based on the latest health data and feedback from our teachers, leaders and families, we plan to bring elementary students back to our classrooms for in-person learning using a phased-in approach over the coming weeks. We’re particularly eager to bring our elementary students back for in-person learning because we know that all of our young children learn best through social interaction, hands-on activities, and strong relationships with educators.
Families of students at charter schools are encouraged to check with their school directly for specific start dates and expectations.
Kindergarten, First Grade and K-2 Students at Primary Special-Education Centers
We’re excited to announce that kindergarten and first-grade students, and students in primary special education centers (grades K-2), will be the next groups to return to in-person learning. We want to give students and teachers plenty of time to adjust to the “new normal” of health and safety protocols at school, so they may begin with shorter days where students can participate in orientations to learn new routines and how to navigate their new classrooms.
- Sept. 28-Oct. 2: Kindergarten students, some first-grade students, and primary special-education center students start to phase in.
- Oct. 5-9: All first-grade students start to phase in.
School leaders will be working with their teams over the next week to put their specific plans together for a safe, gradual return of these students.
- Oct. 12-16: Health and safety orientations begin for grades 2-5.
- Oct. 21: All elementary students (ECE-5th grade) return to full in-person learning.
Phasing in Before- and Afterschool Care
Registration for our before- and afterschool care programs will open for ECE, kindergarten, and first-grade students on Sept. 16. We’ll open each program as the different grades return to in-person:
- Sept. 21: ECE opens
- Oct. 5: Kindergarten opens
- Oct. 12: First grade opens
- Oct. 21: Grades 2-5 open
Middle and High Schools
We’ll be talking with our middle and high school principals next week about return plans for secondary students. Together with our health partners, we will be looking closely at both COVID rates in Denver County overall and in parts of the city that may be experiencing higher COVID rates at this time. We anticipate that secondary students will return for a mix of in-person and remote learning, due to higher class sizes and the different scheduling needs of older students.
- Oct. 12-16: Health and safety orientations begin for students in grades 6-12.
- Oct. 21: Students in grades 6-12 return to a mix of in-person and remote learning.
Schools will be reaching out to families with more details over the next few weeks to share more details about what the phase-in schedule will look like for middle and high school students. If families have questions in the meantime, they’re encouraged to contact our Family and Community Helpline at 720-423-3054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline is Sept. 18 for Families to Choose or Change Enrollment in In-Person School or Virtual Program
Over the coming weeks, we will continue to bring students and educators back to our classrooms with a return to in-person learning for all grades by the start of the second quarter on Oct. 21. In order to ensure appropriate planning time for our schools, families will need to commit to their preferred learning option by the end of the day on Friday, Sept. 18.
It's important for families to pick an enrollment option before this deadline to help us determine the right staffing for both our virtual and in-person learning programs. Families who have not selected a learning option by end of the day on Sept. 18 will be automatically enrolled in the Virtual Program.
Please note: Families with students at charter schools should check with their individual schools as deadlines and commitment periods may vary.
Many families have already made their enrollment selection, either through Annual Family Update or by working with their school. Families who still need to complete Annual Family Update should log onto the Parent Portal and complete it as soon as possible or call their student’s school in order to verify their contact information and confirm their enrollment selection.
For reference, families who have not yet selected an enrollment option or families who would like to make a change to their previous selection have three ways to do so prior to the Sept. 18 deadline:
- Complete the digital “Learning Option Change Form” in Parent Portal. This form is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Arabic.
- Complete a PDF form and return it to their school. This form is available in multiple languages and can be provided by the school.
- Call the front office at their student’s school and make their selection over the phone.
Please note, the date for ECE families to decide whether or not they will send their ECE student to school in person is still Sept. 14. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer a virtual option for ECE at this time and we will not be able to hold enrollment spots for families who opt out of in-person learning for their student.
Families who have questions or need assistance should contact their school. For additional support, they can also call the Choice and Enrollment Helpline at 720-423-3493 or email SchoolChoice@dpsk12.org.
We’re excited to safely welcome more of our students back into our school buildings in the coming weeks. Thank you again for all that you do on behalf of our students and families.