Looking Forward Plan

Looking Forward Back to School 2021-2022

Looking Forward Plan

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  1. Face Coverings (updated effective 9/1/2021)
  2. Screening, Isolation and Quarantine
  3. Notification of a COVID Exposure
  4. Vaccinations
  5. Physical Distancing
  6. Hand Hygiene
  7. Disinfection
  8. Ventilation
  9. Visitors
  10. Field Trips
  11. Athletics and Activities
  12. Foreign Exchange Students
  13. Facility Rentals
  14. Meals
  15. Transportation

We believe that what our students need most right now is a return to school with as much consistency and normalcy as possible within a safe environment. And that is a big reason we have developed layered COVID protocols for the coming school year.

We ask for the continued partnership, patience and flexibility of our families, students and staff as we do our very best to balance a return to a more normal schedule with keeping our students and employees healthy and in school.  

In addition to the protocols listed below, DCSD continues to encourage families to keep students at home when showing symptoms of illness.

A. Face Coverings

Effective September 1, 2021, the Douglas County School District requires wearing of facial coverings inside school buildings for all students and staff (grades preschool through 12) regardless of vaccination status. We recognize that some students and staff cannot tolerate a facial covering due to medical or mental health reasons. Families can provide their school with documentation (DCSD Medical Exemption Form) from their qualified healthcare provider exempting their child if they cannot tolerate a face covering due to medical or mental health reasons.

Students and staff should bring their own face covering, however if they do not have one a facial covering will be provided to them by their school. Click here for information on how to select the most effective masks and how to wear masks correctly and consistently for the best protection. 

  • Masks are required indoors for before and after school activities (including BASE) and athletics.

  • Any visitors to DCSD buildings (regardless of grade levels served) are required to wear a face covering. This includes DCSD staff and contractors who are inside school buildings when students are present.

Students and staff should bring their own face covering (however, masks will be made available upon request). Click here for information on how to select the most effective masks and how to wear masks correctly and consistently for the best protection.

Face Coverings Required on School Buses
  • Face coverings must be worn by all staff and students (regardless of vaccination status) on DCSD school buses in alignment with a federal CDC mandate which is currently still in place. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anyone utilizing public transportation must wear a face covering at all times. This includes school buses.

B. Screening, Isolation and Quarantine


DCSD will continue to encourage families to keep students at home when showing symptoms of illness.

Isolation is defined as separating people who are sick with COVID from people who are not sick (Tri-County Health Department).

Who Should Isolate?

Any student or staff member who has tested positive for COVID or who has symptoms commonly associated with COVID, including: a new fever, shortness of breath, loss in taste or smell, sore throat, body aches, fatigue and/or diarrhea will be required to isolate.

Students, teachers, or staff who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should stay home and seek testing. Persons should also stay home when experiencing any other acute illness and refer to their healthcare provider for medical care as needed.

COVID Symptom Screen Return To Learn Guidance

If a Staff Member or Student Tests Positive for COVID:

Isolation Means:

  • Stay home, and away from others.

    • In general, a person’s residence is the preferred setting for isolation.

    • Do not go to work outside of your home.

    • Do not go to school or child care.

    • Do not go to public places.

  • Be careful to stay away from seniors, people with weak immune systems, and people with chronic health conditions.

  • If needed, make arrangements for someone to drop off necessary supplies on your porch or outside of your home.

  • After 10 days and no symptoms you can return to school or work.

DCSD will continue to work to make COVID testing more accessible for symptomatic students/staff. Click here to view free testing locations in Douglas County. 

Quarantines for Higher-Risk Exposures

Source: Tri-County Health Department

Per CDPHE School Guidance, contact tracing and quarantine is required when a COVID-19 case occurs in a “higher risk” school setting. Most routine classroom settings in schools are not considered high risk, especially when universal masking is observed.

In the spirit of reducing quarantines resulting from school exposure as much as possible and given the current epidemiologic situation, at this time the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) does not consider exposures during routine school activities to be “higher-risk” and quarantine is not recommended in those settings. Routine school activities are defined as those that occur during school day hours and are primarily curriculum-based.

Routine school activities include:

  • the classroom setting,
  • routine physical education classes,
  • routine music classes,
  • assemblies,
  • and lunchroom meals.

Routine school activities exclude:

  • extracurricular activities (e.g. athletic practices and games; band, chorus, and other performing art performances outside of curriculum-based classes; and field trips).

Schools must be prepared to conduct contact tracing and implement quarantine when cases are identified in higher-risk settings. TCHD is available to provide assistance with exposure assessments as needed.

  • Unvaccinated close contacts should quarantine and get tested around 5 days after exposure.
  • Vaccinated close contacts should wear a mask and be tested 3-5 days after an exposure.

Quarantine of individuals exposed outside of the school setting:

Quarantine is a preventive measure used when someone is exposed to another person with a contagious disease and should avoid exposing others during a time when illness could develop. Given the disruptive impact of quarantines on in-person learning during the previous school year, persons exposed to someone with COVID-19 in a routine classroom setting are not required to quarantine in counties with high rates of vaccination, a practice that TCHD presently plans to follow for its 3 counties (Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas Counties).

However, students, teachers, and staff who are in close contact to a person with COVID-19 outside of the routine classroom setting should quarantine. Examples may include being household contacts of a case, or other situations when a school member is within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more outside of the school setting. This quarantine period should be counted from the last day of exposure to the person with COVID-19. Contacts identified outside of the school setting who have been asked to quarantine must stay home and be excluded from school and all school related activities.

Learning During Isolation or Quarantine

Isolated or quarantined students will be provided with learning opportunities until they are able to return to the classroom.

  • Schools should adhere to current procedures and policies in regards to student absences and make-up work.

  • Consistency in practice is encouraged based on school procedures.

  • Students will not be penalized for missing class because of a required isolation or quarantine.

C. Notification of a COVID Exposure

DCSD will notify TCHD of all positive cases and exposures and TCHD will notify DCSD of all positive test results.

Families and staff in a school or program where a COVID exposure occurred will be notified by their school or program via email so they may monitor their children for symptoms and access a COVID test, if desired. There is also a DCSD COVID tracker available on our DCSD website.

D. COVID Vaccinations

COVID vaccinations are one of the most effective ways to avoid becoming ill with COVID and missing valuable learning time. We will continue to provide our families with information about upcoming vaccination clinics and testing sites in our community. COVID vaccination information is available on our school district website.

If a DCSD staff member has an underlying medical condition and unable to receive the COVID vaccine, there will be a process for them to request an accommodation, i.e. if a teacher has an underlying medical condition and is unable to receive the vaccine, that teacher may have the option to work with their students and ask them to wear masks while in the classroom with that teacher. This will enable the educator to continue to teach in-person.

E. Physical Distancing

  • DCSD schools will continue to maximize our indoor learning spaces to the best of our ability in order to maintain physical distance between students, and where possible will make available additional space for those who want/need more distance while learning.

  • Schools will work to take advantage of the warmer-weather months at the beginning of the school year especially to include outdoor spaces as learning locations.

  • During lunch times, students will be distanced to the greatest extent possible within the lunchroom.

  • Persons should also stay home when experiencing any other acute illness and refer to their healthcare provider for medical care as needed.

F. Hand Hygiene

  • DCSD will continue to encourage good hand hygiene, such as reminding students to wash hands after using the restroom, before meals, etc., and provide access to hand sanitizer stations.

G. Disinfection

  • Touch points (i.e. door knobs, light switches, etc.) will continue to be disinfected throughout all buildings on a daily basis.

  • School buses will continue to be disinfected twice daily.

  • Teachers and staff will continue to have access to disinfectant supplies, including disinfecting spray, available to them to clean high touch areas regularly if desired.

H. Ventilation

  • The circulation of outdoor air within district buildings, via mechanical systems, will continue to be increased.

I. Visitors

  • In the 2021-2022 school year, visitors will be permitted in schools. It is expected that any visitors to DCSD school buildings (including parents/guardians) wear a mask while inside the building. Should a visitor refuse to wear a mask, they will not be permitted in the building.

  • Regardless of vaccination status, anyone who is feeling ill, has tested positive for COVID, or experiencing symptoms commonly associated COVID should refrain from visiting any DCSD school buildings in alignment with isolation guidance listed earlier in this document (Section B).

J. Field Trips

  • Field trips, including out of state trips will resume in 2021-2022.

K. Athletics and Activities

  • Athletics and activities will resume normal processes in 2021-2022 and will coordinate with CHSAA and governing bodies on COVID protocols.

L. Foreign Exchange Students Permitted

  • Foreign exchange programs will resume in 2021-2022.

M. Facilities Rentals

  • Facilities rentals will resume as normal in 2021-2022.

N. Meals

  • Universal Free Meals will continue throughout the 2021-2022 school year! This means that for all schools where DCSD Nutrition Services operates, the USDA has extended meals at no cost through June 30, 2022.

    • One breakfast (where offered) and one lunch per day per student will continue to be provided at no cost to all students.

    • Students are required to take a fruit or vegetable to make a reimbursable/no cost meal at breakfast and lunch.

    • A La Carte food items are available for purchase. Meals will be served in the school cafeterias to students.

  • Families are still encouraged to complete a Meal Benefits application online at www.myschoolapps.com. Those approved for this program become eligible for the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program benefits, and waived school fees and transportation fees.

  • More information about all of this can be found on our website.

O. Bus Transportation

  • Face coverings must be worn by all staff and students (regardless of vaccination status) on DCSD school buses in alignment with a federal CDC mandate which is currently still in place.

    1. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anyone utilizing public transportation must wear a face covering at all times. This includes school buses.

  • Transportation will generally be provided to students who attend their assigned home school and live further than approximately one mile for elementary students and approximately two miles for middle and high school students.

  • Students who have a SMARTag bus pass from last year do not need to re-enroll or request a new card. Please remember not to punch holes in the cards as this will make them inactive.

  • Students who will be getting their first bus pass this year will get those passes from the bus drivers. Students can ride at the start of the school year until all passes have been issued.

  • To find your bus route and transportation information, please visit the Transportation page on the district website.

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In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District's Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Aaron Henderson, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, complianceofficer@dcsdk12.org, 720-433-1083.

Outside Agencies

Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.