Dear Team DPS,
We hope you’re having an enjoyable winter break, and we want to provide an update on our plans as we return next week. As COVID rates have increased due to the prevalence of the Omicron variant, we have continued our close collaboration with our partners at Denver Health and Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. With the strong health safeguards we have in place, we are planning to continue with a full schedule of in-person learning. All central-support sites will also continue with a full, in-person schedule. DPS has a very high vaccination rate among staff, and the COVID-19 vaccine is now available for everyone ages 5 and older. We also strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to get a booster shot.
Be sure to review the updated guidance documents for both schools and central office. Please note, at this time no in-person meetings are permitted at schools or at any central-support sites. Staff should leverage virtual platforms for all meetings. If there is an urgent matter that requires in-person attention, consider the following factors when determining an appropriate location:
- Ability to physically distance
- Number of attendees
- Meeting length
- Room size and ventilation
Our plans for the return from winter break are being updated to reflect changes brought about by the Omicron variant and to reflect new guidance from the CDC on quarantines and isolation. We expect to provide an update on quarantine and isolation guidelines early next week but we will continue using our current protocols until updated school guidance is released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
We know in-person instruction and support are critical for the overall well-being of our students, and our plan is in line with the recommendation from the health experts who have been our partners throughout the pandemic.
To help protect our community and keep each other healthy, all DPS staff, families and eligible students are encouraged to take a few important steps. To start, if you haven’t already, please get your vaccine (available to those ages 5 and older) or booster. Additionally, it is recommended that community members receive regular COVID tests to help stop the spread. Tests are available through COVIDCheck Colorado sites across the city, or you can use at-home tests, which can be ordered for free here. Lastly, please continue to follow the DPS 5, which outlines our safety protocols while at our schools and buildings.
Please know that we will continue to work closely with our partners at Denver Health and Denver Department of Public Health and Environment to monitor conditions and make adjustments to our plans as needed to ensure the safest and healthiest conditions possible in our schools. We remain fully committed to keeping schools open for in-person learning and support, as long as that is in line with the advice of our health experts. We also anticipate that schools will continue to face significant staffing shortages that may require temporary shifts to remote learning, although that is only considered as a last resort because we know how difficult it is on families for there to be a shift to a remote day on short notice.
We very much appreciate the patience and understanding of our staff, students, and families, as we work together to adjust to changing and challenging conditions in order to keep our schools open for our scholars.
Dr. Alex Marrero