Important Information from DPS

Posted August 5, 2022

Please throughly review the information below from Denver Public Schools for the 2022-2023 School Year.

Free Lunch and Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) Applications

After three years, the federal law providing pandemic-era child nutrition expired on June 30. This means starting this fall, students are expected to pay for their lunch at the time of service unless designated eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Free breakfast will still be available to everyone. To be considered for free lunch, families will need to fill out an application to qualify kids for free, reduced-price or paid meals. At McMeen, we request ALL families fill out this form at My School Apps. DPS encourages families to complete a meal benefits application as soon as possible to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price lunch. We will have applications at registration, at the link above, at Meet Your Teacher Night, and in the main office.

Returning to In-person Environments

The 2022-23 school year is poised to be the most consistent year since the pandemic started, and we understand many have had some tough experiences with COVID-19. We recognize that the fear is real, and the district and schools have resources to assist individuals who are still experiencing trauma.

As we move from pandemic to endemic when it comes to COVID-19, we are following the guidance of local, regional and national health experts. Endemic means that, while there is no clear end to the pandemic, the virus is generally significantly less life-threatening. We are now treating COVID-19 as we do any other reportable, communicable disease that is in our schools. We now have effective vaccines and booster shots. We now have medicines for those who contract the virus. And, we now have a far better understanding of how to protect ourselves with public health measures like wearing masks and improving building ventilation. So, we have revisited, revised and shifted our COVID-19 operational decision-making and policies so that we can still provide the best educational opportunities for our students, while taking reasonable precautions. In short, we now have fewer restrictions because there are no mandates and no public health orders in place. Anyone who chooses to wear a mask may continue to do so. All students may request a mask from their school or program if they need one. Masks are strongly recommended for any staff member or student who knows they have been exposed to COVID-19 within the previous 10 days.

We will continue to follow the guidance for schools provided by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE). Our Nursing Services team will continue to monitor information daily and will take steps to ensure the safety of students, families and educators, if necessary. Nursing Services will continue having regular meetings with local health officials, the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE), CDPHE and Denver Health, regarding outbreaks and/or any upward-trending COVID-19 case rates. And, all COVID-19 cases must still be reported to state health officials. DPS will no longer maintain a COVID-19 dashboard. Please visit the CDPHE and DDPHE websites for age-related case rates across the state. If there are any outbreaks and/or any unusual cases, Nursing Services will notify those impacted communities and will work directly with them on next steps.

Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, and unlike last year, students and employees who have COVID-19 do not need to test for the virus and then get a negative rapid at home test in order to return to school or work. We ask that symptomatic individuals please return on day six and wear a mask from day six to day 10. We still encourage vaccines and booster shots. As of June 30, COVIDCheck Colorado is no longer in existence. DPS is hosting two cost-free PCR testing sites. There are several other cost-free PCR testing sites in Denver county and in areas surrounding Denver.

Keeping Our Students Healthy

Families make decisions every day to protect their children, and now COVID-19 vaccines are available at no charge to protect all children six months and older. Medical officials have shared that vaccinations provide the best defense against serious outcomes related to COVID-19. Families can get immunizations and sports physicals at Denver Health’s 19 School-Based Health Centers located on school campuses.

Heat Mitigation

During the initial weeks of school, high temperatures can be a challenge for creating the most effective learning environments, particularly in schools that do not yet have air conditioning. There are a number of heat mitigation strategies, including portable coolers, fans and nighttime purges of buildings to bring in cooler air. McMeen does not have air conditioning; therefore, it is possible we will call a Heat Day should the conditions in the building be deemed unsafe for classes. We will notify parents as soon as possible of this decision.

Transportation Services

The DPS Department of Transportation automatically enrolls students eligible for bus transportation. For eligible students riding the bus, bus route information is available in Parent Portal. If a student does not have bus information in their student record, chances are they are not eligible for transportation and the family should complete the online Transportation Exception Request form via Parent Portal. If a student is approved as an Exception Rider, they will be added to the manifest for that route. The Early Submission Window is open through Aug. 19. Families who submit a request will receive a response by early September. The submission window will open again in mid-October. Exact dates will be released via Transportation’s website. All decisions on Exception Requests will be communicated via email to the submitter’s email. If you have transportation questions, please contact the Transportation Customer Service Center by calling 720-423-4600 or emailing