Dear Team DPS,
Next week is the last week of our first quarter, and we’re pleased to have opened up our schools for our youngest learners and are so excited to welcome back more students at the start of the second quarter. As frustrating as it’s been – for all of us – to navigate the changes and uncertainties, the guidelines and new protocols, these past few months have come with moments of tremendous reward and joy in seeing the spirit of our educators and kids shine through it all.
I wanted to take a minute to share some of the wonderful pictures and videos that have been sent to me and have been such a boost this quarter.
Our schools are both places of learning and family support centers. We’ve worked really hard to keep our schools strong, even as our school buildings have been closed – to be a source of academic growth for students and all-around stability for families during a time when there are so few certainties and so many challenges.
As we move toward the start of the second quarter (which is Wednesday, Oct. 21 for most schools), we continue to prioritize health and safety and to stay in close partnership with our experts at Denver Health. Dr. Bill Burman provides regular updates on health conditions in our community and how they relate to our plans for a safe and gradual return to in-person school. Click here to watch Dr. Burman’s most recent update, and click here for our COVID Conditions website.
We also continue to strengthen and emphasize the health precautions in our schools. Over the course of the past month, we’ve been gradually welcoming back our early-childhood and elementary grades – getting ready for the full return to in-person instruction at elementary schools when the second quarter starts. Click here for a video that shows the health safeguards that will be in place in elementary schools.
For middle and high schools, the second quarter will be a mix of remote and in-person learning, and schools have been given the flexibility to tailor their own schedules and programs to ensure they are able to meet the critically important health guidelines while taking into account their own particular staffing and enrollment. All families also continue to have the option of fully remote instruction for the second quarter.
Through our collaboration with other area school districts, it’s been encouraging to see that there have been low incidents of COVID-19 spread happening at schools. We do expect that there will be some disruptions to in-person schooling in the second quarter, as we have seen in other districts. Those cases have, for the most part, been the result of virus-spread outside of the school, but will still mean a shift to remote learning for a period of time as affected staff and students go into the necessary quarantines.
On Thursday, Oct. 15, from 4:30-5:30 p.m., we will be hosting another all-staff Telephone Town Hall for our team members. We're also planning a Telephone Family Forum for our DPS community on the same day at 6 p.m. I will be joined by Dr. Burman and DPS leadership to answer your questions and discuss the next phase of our safe and gradual return to in-person learning. As was the case with our forum before the start of the school year, you will receive a phone call – at the number listed on file with Human Resources – inviting you to join the forum. Just follow the prompts to join, and if you miss the call, there will be instructions left on your voicemail. We’ll also post a recording on The Commons for those who weren’t able to join.
It will continue to be a school year of agility and adjustments. And I so appreciate the strength and togetherness our community has shown since the COVID crisis began. Having more of our students back in our buildings will be uplifting and energizing, and we will continue working hard to ensure that we’re connecting with our kids and providing academic and all-around support to all of our students and families – at schools and across the community.