Return To School Decision Making

On this page you can find information about the decision making process as it relates to in-person, hybrid, and remote learning during the 20-21 school year, including the current confirmed COVID-19 incidents in DSST schools and DSST opening and closing threshold criteria.

This page has been updated to reflect the most recent research and significant datasets that support our commitment to the health, safety, and education of our students, family, and staff safety, as shared by metro Denver public health officials. This research includes evidence from schools in the Denver metro areas that shows when standard prevention measures are followed, in-person learning can be conducted in a way that prevents disease transmission. (Colorado Health Institute, December 2020) 

Consequently, per the recommendations of public health officials, DSST will use DSST COVID-19 school data to largely inform return to school decision making. We remain committed to:

  • Grounding decisions in science
  • Prioritizing safety to ensure we can keep the DSST community healthy
  • Considering the educational needs of our students and families
  • Communicating transparently and in a timely fashion (giving advance notice of decisions when possible
  • Extending grace to each other and all parts of the community as we navigate this process together


DSST COVID-19 Incident Summary 

In this dashboard you can view the total number of current, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in each school, the percentage of overall school population confirmed, and the number of community members currently quarantined.

Current, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported to us directly from families, staff, and the local public health department. Cases of COVID-19 are no longer considered current cases after 14 days. Since this data reflects the full extent of current cases provided to DSST, it also includes employees who are working remotely and students who are only participating in E-School.


  • Number of Confirmed Cases: Number of current, confirmed cases of COVID-19.    
  • Percent Confirmed: Percent of total number of students and/or staff that have current, confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • Number of School-Related Isolation Cases: Number of individuals currently isolated due to exposure or potential exposure with a positive COVID-19 case at a DSST school.
  • Number of Non-School-Related Isolation: Number of individuals currently isolated due to exposure or potential exposure with a positive COVID-19 case.
  • In Person: Individual attended a DSST school in person within the last 48 hours.
  • Remote: Individual has not attended a DSST school in person within the last 48 hours.

Other considerations DSST will use to make a final decision on in-person, hybrid or remote E-School include availability of personal protective equipment (face masks and shields) and cleaning equipment, access to physical space to meet health department guidelines, and readiness of students, families, and staff to return.

It is possible that DSST middle and high schools will be open at a time when DPS and APS schools are not, and vice versa. We are committed to communicating in a clear and timely manner to ensure our families are fully aware of network decisions regarding remote and in-person learning.

We expect that it is likely that we will be in and out of school at different times this year based on the pandemic.  We will be using the above described school datasets each time we make a transition decision from one kind of schooling to another.


DSST Opening and Closing Threshold Metrics

While the DSST school focused data above will be our primary focus for determining the risk and safety in our communities we will also be monitoring the data at a county level. In consultation with local public health officials, we have defined two key metrics with the following thresholds to trigger our consideration of not returning to school: 

  • 14 day case rate over 800 per 100,000
  • Denver or Adams County goes back to “Red” status as determined by the state of Colorado

Click here to find the latest information about the 20-21 school year, including updates about COVID-19, remote and in-person learning, and family resources.