As we continue to follow the COVID-19 situation, the health and safety of our students and team members remain our highest priority.
We want to emphasize that, as of 7 p.m. last evening, DPS has no student or staff member who has been confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19; our schools and workplaces are being cleaned nightly and will be disinfected as needed in coordination with health officials.
There are rapidly changing conditions here in Colorado as well as across the nation related to the spread of COVID-19. Because of this, the district is canceling all district-sponsored international and out-of-state travel for all students and staff until further notice. This was a very difficult decision, and the overriding priority – as always – was the health and safety of our students and staff.
These travel restrictions are effective immediately and include any field trips, athletic events, team competitions, professional development, staff conferences, or any trip that would take our students or staff out of the state through a DPS-sponsored event.
We understand that this comes as a disappointment to our students, families, and staff who have put effort and money into planning these trips. We share in that disappointment. Yet as the COVID-19 situation continues to change and widen, it’s our obligation to do our best to ensure we’re taking the right steps to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff. The district hopes that schools are able to reschedule some of these planned trips once health conditions improve and travel becomes safer and less uncertain. Many travel agencies are supporting re-bookings or refunds.
Reporting Concerns and Information with our Health Staff
The DPS Nursing Services Team is leading our coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Denver Department of Public Health. For general information or questions about our health efforts, please email the DPS Coronavirus Information Mailbox at CoronavirusInfo@dpsk12.org or leave a voice message on the DPS Coronavirus Information line at 720-424-4357. We have also set up a separate phone number to report any specific concerns or information about possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus. If you have a specific report to make, please call 720-423-2322. This number will be staffed around the clock, seven days a week.
John F. Kennedy High School is making an adjustment in our attendance policy due to precautions we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID 19. We will now exempt all excused absences, absences that are due to illness (3 or more consecutive days require a note from a doctor), family emergency, and religious holiday observance from counting against students and their attendance rate.
In other words, excused absences will not count against a student’s attendance rate.
Keeping Our Facilities Clean and Safe
DPS’ hardworking custodial staff is continuing to do nightly cleaning and regular disinfecting of high-touch surfaces throughout our schools and facilities, in accordance with our established system for minimizing the spread of a virus.
John F. Kennedy High School was featured on Fox 31 news because Kennedy is one of the cleanest buildings in the district and our Facilities Manager, Tony, and his team are being extremely proactive. Watch the highlight here.
Keeping our students, families and staff healthy is a community effort. We strongly urge everyone to take these essential health precautions and reinforce them with your teams and community:
- Stay home when you are sick, and keep your children at home when they are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others.
Our Commitment to Being a Safe and Welcoming Community
Team DPS is proud to model what it means to be a Safe and Welcoming Community that supports and embraces all children and families. That’s especially important during difficult situations like we’re facing now. Our community messages will reinforce our Safe and Welcoming commitment and will emphasize that COVID-19 is a global public health issue affecting all of us and that no person, country or ethnic group is at fault.
Within our wonderfully diverse community, we have students and staff with family and friends across the country and around the globe. Thank you for all you do to show the importance of treating everyone with compassion and care, knowing that some may be worried about the wellbeing of their loved ones.
DPS will not tolerate any hateful or racist words or actions. Please, reinforce our messages of kindness and care to all community members. Our district has put policies and practices into place to make sure that everyone in the DPS community has the opportunity to learn and work in an environment where they are treated with dignity and respect, free from discrimination or harassment. We fully support our diverse students, families and staff, particularly in these challenging times.
Protecting Those Who May Be Immunocompromised or Have a Weakened Immune System
We recognize that students and staff who may have a weakened immune system due to certain diseases and conditions (like cancer, heart disease, lung disease or diabetes) may be at a higher risk of developing serious illness if they get sick with COVID-19. Those in this situation, or those who have a close family member in this situation, should please reach out to their healthcare provider for guidance. We know each situation will be different. If the healthcare provider gives guidance that impacts the ability to attend school or work, we ask that students please reach out to their school leader to make a plan and that staff reach out to their HR partner and supervisor to make a plan for next steps.
Thank you for your support and your continued cooperation in taking the necessary precautions to keep our campuses and school facilities healthy and safe.