Dear Team DPS,
As we think back on one year since the COVID-19 pandemic first sent our students and staff into remote learning and teaching, we’ve had to make some hard decisions -- ones that were always made with the care and consideration for what we thought would be best for our students, and always with the realization of how much learning time has been lost to the pandemic. With that in mind, we realize our decisions on severe-weather days this school year included some complexities, such as the discretionary two-hour delay that we called for recently, which caused confusion for some families and staff. I want to apologize for any problems that were created for our community, and I want to let you know we’re making changes as a result.
After gathering feedback, DPS leadership has created an outline for how we will handle severe-weather days for the rest of the 2020-21 school year (For families whose students attend charter schools, please check with your school on whether they are following these changes.):
- For severe weather that is limited in duration, we will do a traditional snow day, with no in-person or remote learning. For this forecast storm, this means that if there are unsafe conditions on Monday, March 15, that will be a traditional snow day. We’ll be monitoring the weather closely providing updates as needed through our normal communications channels.
- If there is an extended stretch of severe weather during the week and we are not able to safely allow students to attend in-person school for multiple days, then -- starting with the second day -- we will pivot to remote learning. For this forecast storm, this means that if there are unsafe conditions on Monday, March 15, that will be a traditional snow day. We’ll be monitoring the weather closely and providing updates as needed through our normal communications channels.
- To support in planning and this shift, any time we are considering a potential snow day, we will send messaging to schools by mid-day the day before to remind students and teachers to prepare (such as by taking home computers) in the event that it becomes a multi-day event and we need to shift to remote learning. For this forecast storm, please remind your students to bring their computers home with them for this weekend.
We will also send an email to all staff regarding weather closures. We realize many team members have quick access to their phones and would like to receive text message updates in addition to email communications about these types of updates. We hear this feedback and are working to soon launch an internal version of SchoolMessenger, the automated system we currently use for families. Please stay tuned for updates about this new communication feature, coming soon.
Thank you for your understanding as we all continue to adapt to current conditions and try to do what's best for our students, educators, and families.