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Extended holiday break meant to support self-care for DPS teachers

The extra day off on Nov. 19 is also being added to provide an opportunity for families to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

DENVER — Denver Public Schools (DPS) has announced it will close on Friday, Nov. 19, and begin its Thanksgiving break a day early, to allow for COVID-19 vaccinations and self-care for staff members.

District Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero said he spoke with a sixth-grade student earlier this week who shared that he noticed his teacher was struggling with the "day-to-day heavy lift."

That's part of the reason that all district-run schools and offices will be closed on Nov. 19.

"I hear from teachers saying 'we love to be here, but we feel like it's March,'" said Marrero. "Meaning the March fatigue is setting in on our teachers because of the heavy lift. And the heavy lift is with everything that is post-pandemic responding to well beyond the scope of their work. Meaning if it's literacy, it's literacy plus counseling."

He said after this week, staff will just need to get through four days before their extended holiday break.

"Those days may not seem like a heavy lift but they are," he said.

The closure will also allow families additional opportunities to take advantage of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is now available to young children.

DPS said the decision is in line with the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education, which has urged school districts to provide paid time off to staff to get their own children vaccinated.

"That Friday, right before break, just in case there is any adverse reaction to the vaccination, that's the appropriate time," said Marrero. "And it's already the day before a long vacation so if there was ever a day, it was that Friday."

> Above video: Some schools move to remote learning due to shift changes.

The district said one of the key steps to keeping schools open for in-person learning is getting as many community members vaccinated as possible and they're hopeful the extra day off will assist with that effort. You can learn more about the vaccine and see opportunities to receive the vaccine here.

RELATED: 3 Denver schools temporarily shift to remote learning due to staffing shortage

Several schools will be closed Friday, Nov. 12 due to staffing shortages, and while DPS as a whole will remain open some of its schools are impacted by that same issue and will shift to remote learning.

"We have our day-to-day absences that happen, whether it's personal day, self-medication – self-care," he said. "That compounded with quarantines, COVID cases, and, of course, fatigue."

Watch the superintendent's full message below.

Families whose children attend charter schools should check with their school regarding plans for Friday, Nov. 19 as some charter schools have decided to remain open.

Those who are involved in Discovery Link, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, or Scholars Unlimited family, will receive additional communication about camp opportunities for your students.

Credit: stock.adobe.com

RELATED: 3 school districts closed Friday due to staffing shortages

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