Happy Winter Break! I first want to thank each and every one of you for your support and partnership as we have navigated a difficult semester. There are so many challenges that we have worked to overcome and many more that lie ahead of us. We could not do the critical work that we need to do for APS students without you.
As we prepare to enjoy the holidays with our family and friends, I urge each of you to take time to celebrate and cherish every joyful moment. Sometimes our world can feel full of negativity and hate, but I truly believe that when we stop to reflect, we see how much of our world is actually filled with hope, kindness and generosity.
There are many important issues that I want to keep you updated on and remind you of as we prepare for Winter Break. Please read through the information below. We will continue to share important updates with you throughout the year via email, automated phone calls and our website at aurorak12.org.
HIGH SCHOOLS WILL MAINTAIN CLOSED CAMPUS PROTOCOLS
After Winter Break, all APS high schools will continue to maintain closed campuses. This means that students are not allowed to leave school during the school day, including during lunch. Parking lots will remain off-limits and students may not go to their vehicles during the day without permission from the office.
Exceptions include: students leaving for classes at the Community College of Aurora and Pickens Technical College, students leaving school with parent/guardian permission and students attending supervised athletics/activities/field trips. Students should continue to check in with the main office prior to leaving campus.
We continue to work closely with the Aurora Police Department to monitor the community violence that impacted our schools this semester. We will communicate if circumstances and protocols change. After Winter Break, our high schools will continue to engage their school communities to ensure that safety remains our top priority. We ask for you to work with your school principals and staff on problem solving and maintaining safe and supportive environments for all of our students and staff.
NEW MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS
Starting January 4, a new online mental health service will be available to all APS students through our partnership with Hazel Health. With Hazel, students can virtually see a licensed therapist for free to discuss everything from stress, bullying, and relationship issues to anxiety, depression, grief, and more. There will be no waitlist for students to schedule short-term therapy sessions at school or from home. We will provide detailed information after Winter Break. Please remember that anyone can call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 any time, day or night. And, all APS employees have free, 24-hour, confidential access to our Employee Assistance Program counseling services.
FREE COVID VACCINES & BOOSTERS
All Coloradans ages 5 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and many Coloradans ages 16 and older are eligible to receive a booster dose. We partner with STRIDE Community Health Clinic and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment to host free vaccination clinics for our families at schools throughout the district. You do NOT need to be a U.S. citizen to receive a vaccine. Also, state and local public health agencies will NEVER share your information for any immigration or law enforcement purposes. We encourage everyone who is eligible to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated.
As we shared with you earlier this month, we are implementing late-start Mondays after Winter Break for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.
By giving our teachers more planning and professional development time, this proactive step is intended to allow us to keep our learning environments intact and minimize disruption to our schools. Late-start Mondays mean that most APS students will report to school one hour later than normal on Mondays. Start times for all other days of the week will remain the same and dismissal times will remain the same. Please review our bell schedules here.
Please note that if your student rides an APS bus to school, APS transportation will pick up students from their bus stops one hour later than normal on Mondays.
Exceptions include Preschool, ACTION Zone Schools and Pickens Technical College. Please note that there will be exceptions to late-start Mondays. This includes all preschool students at our elementary schools and Child Development Centers. Preschool students will continue to follow their regular schedule on Mondays. ACTION Zone schools (Crawford, Paris, Boston P-8, AWCPA and Aurora Central) will also start at their regular times on Mondays. This is because ACTION Zone schools already have early release Fridays built into their schedules for planning and professional development. Lastly, Pickens Technical College will start at its normal time on Mondays.
Preschool students and ACTION Zone students who ride an APS bus to school will be picked up from their bus stops at their normal times on Monday mornings.
Thank you again for your continued support and partnership. I hope you all take time over the holidays to relax and rejuvenate yourselves and loved ones. Have an incredible Winter Break and we look forward to welcoming our students back in the new year! Happy Holidays APS!
- Superintendent Rico Munn