Health and Safety – COVID 19

Teacher sitting on the floor with class of students

Putting Health & Safety First

When health conditions and guidance allow students and staff to return to our buildings in person, everyone will be expected to follow the health and safety protocols below, which were developed in partnership with local and state health experts — including the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Metro Denver Partnership for Health (MDPH), and the Governor’s Office. As health conditions change in our community, we will keep you updated on any changes to this guidance.

COVID Testing for the Community


Students will participate in observed hand washing/sanitizing at regular intervals. Schools will have supplies of hand sanitizer and soap to allow for frequent hand-washing, and classrooms and school facilities will be disinfected regularly.

Physical Distancing

Students will maintain three feet of distance from one another and from adults. Adults should maintain six feet of distance from other adults, and three feet of distance from students. When physical distancing is not possible, a physical barrier like plexiglass may be used. To support physical distancing efforts, schools will stagger start and end time times as well as passing periods. Schools will clearly mark off six-foot spaces for specific areas, such as bathroom lines or school pick-up/drop-off locations.

Classrooms will be set up to follow our health and safety guidelines. Classroom seating will be revised to maximize distancing between students as much as possible. Desks will be rearranged so that students are all facing the same direction and community desks will be removed.

Student Cohorts

A cohort is a set group of students who participate in a class or activity together for several weeks. Elementary students can be in a cohort of up to 35 students, as long as they maintain three feet of distance from one another and from adults and follow mask guidance. Middle and high school students also can be in a cohort of up to 35 students, as long as they maintain three feet of distance and follow mask guidance — but schools may choose to create several smaller cohorts so that students interact with no more than 35 students total.

Daily Screening Process

Formal health screenings when entering the building are not required for the 2021-2022 school year,

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

DPS has purchased masks, face shields, thermometers, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray to help maintain a safe environment and prepare for the return to school. Schools have been provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) based on the number of students enrolled, the number of teaching stations within the building, and other details. PPE has been delivered to all schools, and we will continue to monitor throughout the year to ensure schools have what they need to maintain a safe environment.


To minimize health risks, parents/guardians are discouraged from entering DPS buildings at this time. Parent/guardians who have a reason to enter the building will only be allowed in the front office and will need to follow health screening protocols prior to entering the building. Only school staff, approved district staff, approved contractors, students participating in approved programming, and individuals accessing a School-Based Health Clinic or Mental Health Center, who have completed a health screening and follow health protocols are currently allowed past the front office.


With support from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) funding, we are working to hire more full-time nurses as well as health technicians who will be trained to help support the health and safety needs of our students and staff. Our goal is to have a full-time nurse or health technician in all district-managed schools. Currently, School Nurses are in buildings in the time allotments determined by each school administrator. At this time, school nurse assignments vary from 1 day a week to 5 days a week. Medications, procedures, and other health care tasks are delegated to staff members by the school nurse who then provides regular supervision and oversight. When there are life- or limb-threatening emergencies, staff are instructed to call 911.


Students and staff may not share food. All meals will be served either in the cafeteria or in the classroom. If served in cafeterias, students will get the food at a designated time with their cohort and take it back to the classroom. Students will need to wash their hands before and after eating.

Can I go to School Today?

Parents and guardians can use these symptom checklists to determine when to keep their child at home based on the level of COVID-19 transmission in their community (e.g. Is the community in Protect Your Neighbor or Safer at Home or Stay at Home). School staff can also use this tool to determine if they need to stay at home. Any student or staff diagnosed with COVID-19 or who is in close contact with a COVID-19 case should not go to school and should isolate or quarantine according to public health recommendations.

These lists refer only to new symptoms or a change in usual symptoms. A student/ staff should not be kept home for the usual symptoms they experience due to a chronic condition unless they are worse than usual. These guidelines are in addition to your regular school guidance (for example, a child with vomiting should also not attend school based on usual school guidance).

If your child is/ you are experiencing any potentially life-threatening symptoms please call 911.

Low Community Transmission (Protect Your Neighbors)

If any of the following symptoms are present, keep the child at home/ stay at home, inform the school of symptoms, and reach out to a health care provider about COVID-19 testing and the next steps for treatment.

Sustained Community Transmission (Safer at Home or Stay at Home)

If any of the following symptoms are present, keep the child at home/ stay at home, inform the school of symptoms, and reach out to a health care provider about COVID-19 testing and next steps for treatment.

View the COVID-19 Health and Safety Resources