Dear Team DPS,
Now that we’re back in the swing of in-person learning, we want to share a few updates related to keeping our students and staff healthy and our schools open through COVID-19:
Will DPS offer COVID-19 testing in schools?
No, we believe that community-based testing is very effective, particularly as free COVIDCheck Colorado sites can be found throughout the city. (Your primary care provider can also connect you with testing.) The partnerships we have with COVIDCheck Colorado, Denver Health and Children’s Hospital ensure that the most accurate testing measures (PCR tests, rather than rapid antigen tests) are available to the community. According to our health partners, PCR tests are the most accurate and reliable, particularly for catching cases without symptoms. Leaving testing to the experts will allow DPS school staff to spend their time prioritizing the academic and social-emotional needs of students. We will continue to work closely with our local health department and medical advisors to evaluate our testing strategy.
Will DPS require routine or random COVID-19 testing for students or school-based staff?
We’re closely following health trends in Denver, and are pleased to see that as of Sept. 14, 80.6% of Denver residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 73% of those 12-17 years old had received one dose. Because of these promising numbers, our health partners do not advise routine or random testing as the most effective use of our resources in schools at this time.
Please remember that students or staff who feel ill should stay home and schedule a free COVID test as soon as possible. As the pandemic evolves, we will continue to make decisions based on the information at hand and with ongoing guidance from our health partners. (Staff who have been approved for medical or religious exemptions may receive other guidance on routine testing as part of their accommodations.)
Will vaccinated DPS staff members need COVID-19 booster shots?
Right now, the CDC only recommends third doses for individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. We are awaiting further guidance from the CDC and working with our local health partners to make plans should booster shots become widely recommended. We are continuing to work with our city partners to ensure we are implementing the Public Health Order. We will continue to keep you informed if any guidance or requirements change.
Thank you for doing your part to keep our DPS community safe!