Principal’s Update — August 13, 2021

Posted August 13, 2021

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August 13, 2021

Dear McKinley-Thatcher families —

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year. We hope you’ve had a restful and fun summer break, and we are excited to see you all soon!

2021-2022 Bell Times & Discovery Link Information

New this school year, our bell times are 7:30am to 2:30pm for ALL students (ECE-4 through 5th grade). We understand that the early start time is an adjustment for some families. Please have your children here at 7:30am ready to learn and begin their day! Our cafeteria will be open for breakfast from 7:15am to 7:30am, and our main office hours are 7:15am to 3:15pm daily.

Families who need after-school care may register with our Discovery Link program here. Discovery Link’s afternoon programming is 2:30pm to 6:00pm. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer before-school care this year due to lack of interest in that option.

Staff Updates 

We are excited to welcome many new, diverse, and experienced staff to McKinley-Thatcher this year! Please see this document to meet our new team members.

We also have a few unanticipated open positions, so we are looking for great paraprofessionals to join our team! No degree required and benefits are included.  If you know anyone who loves kids, please tell them to contact Mrs. Geerdes directly at

Important Dates to Remember

We are not yet allowed to have in-person events indoors for families, but we are still excited to welcome you back to McT via our virtual Open House on Thursday, August 19 at 5:30pm! This is a chance for you to meet your teachers and get a virtual look at your student’s classroom. 

Please also keep these beginning-of-the-year dates handy.  

  • Online School Registration ENDS: Monday, August 16, 2021 (see our website to register!)
  • Virtual Open House: Thursday, August 19, 5:30pm-6:00pm on Google Meet (more info coming soon!) 
  • First Day of School & Welcome Celebration: Monday August 23, 7:00am-7:30am
  • No School (Labor Day): Monday, September 6 
  • Back-to-School Night: Thursday, September 9, 5:30pm-6:30pm  

2021-2022 COVID Policies

Our school COVID policies and guidelines have been updated to reflect the new standards recommended by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and required by Denver Public Schools (DPS). DPS is continuing to monitor COVID numbers in Denver and will be updating guidance for our schools regularly. 

We have listed the most important COVID prevention policies for our families to know below. We will share the full list of DPS health protocols as soon as we receive it from the district.

  • Masking: All staff and students will be required to wear a mask while inside the building. Masks may be removed when outside and when eating.
  • Physical distancing:  Our classrooms are back at full capacity,  but we’ll make every effort to space students out as much as possible in the classrooms.
  • Meals & eating: ECE and kindergarten classes will eat meals in their classrooms and/or eat outdoors. Since they cannot wear masks while eating, students will be socially distanced at lunch.  We will only use the cafeteria at half-capacity, and will eat outside when possible.  Students will have designated tables assigned while eating in the cafeteria.
  • School events: In-person events with families and/or large groups of students are NOT yet allowed.  DPS will re-evaluate school event policies after the first 60 days of the school year. 
  • Health screenings: Temperature and symptom checks are no longer required for staff or students. If your child is sick, please keep them home. If you have questions, please review this information from CDPHE: 
  • Field trips: Day-time and overnight field trips can resume! COVID waivers and permission slips will be required, but we are excited to create experiential learning opportunities for our students in the community again. We can’t wait!  

Free Breakfast & Lunch for All Students this Year

We are so excited to announce that, again this year, Denver Public Schools will provide breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge! This is a wonderful benefit to our school community. 

Despite this change, we are still requesting that all McKinley families complete a Meal Benefits Application before the first day of school. Families can visit our School Registration webpage and scroll down to Step 2 to find instructions for the application. Submitting a Meal Benefits Application for your family helps ensure students receive the maximum amount of benefits for which they are eligible. It also ensures that our school receives additional resources to support healthy meals for students and afterschool programs.

Thank you so much for reading this important information. We are hard at work getting the school ready for students to return, and we can’t wait to see you all here!

All the best,

Sonia Geerdes, Principal

Courtney Waring, Principal Resident