Our mission: Dawson School is dedicated to excellence of mind, body, and character. We prepare students, through challenging and relevant learning, to become creative, resilient problem-solvers who bring their best to the world.

Dawson COVID Protocols

This page will provide an overview of Dawson health and safety protocols, including answers to commonly asked questions. Dawson is following the recommendations of public health and government authorities, which is based on the most current information and best practices. We are committed to meeting or exceeding guidelines. We cannot eliminate all risk, but we are working diligently to reduce virus spread.

If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed here, please email them to dawson@dawsonschool.org.


As we move into a time of year when symptoms - of anything - may become more common, we want to make sure that everyone in our community is clear on Dawson's protocol regarding when to stay home and how and when to return.


Opening school for the fall is exciting and challenging at the same time. Dawson’s goal is to provide high quality in-person on-campus learning while reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our community. Although there is no such thing as zero risk, and zero cases are likely not achievable, there are many things we can do to reopen safely and mitigate risk.

These first three risk-mitigation strategies are most effective at minimizing risk* (Children’s Hospital of Colorado); we are also acting on a variety of support strategies. As always, we follow guidelines established by Boulder County Public Health and the State of Colorado. 

  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly.
    • When arriving on campus
    • After using restroom
    • Before and after recess
    • After touching shared objects
  • Use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available
    • Small and large bottles available in high touch areas
    • Stands available in common gathering areas

  • Dawson community will wear a mask inside at all times.
    • Additional masks will be available at division assistant desks if needed.
    • Teachers may use additional protective equiment, such as face shields.
    • Masks will be worn outdoors where 6' of distance cannot be maintained.

  • Maintain physical distance and cohort where possible
    • Strive for 6-ft physical distance indoors, as well as outdoors if possible.
    • Use exterior doors to enter and exit classrooms when possible.
    • Conduct classes outside or provide breaks to go outside. 
    • Limit locker use - only Upper School students who request a locker will be given a locker. Middle School will not use lockers this year.
    • Dawson is using cohorts or limiting the mixing of student groups as much as possible. K-5 classes will function as cohorts.  A student can belong to more than one cohort, such as a bus cohort, a class cohort, and a team cohort.

Additional Risk Mitigation Strategies and Protocols

  • Screen faculty, students, and visitors
    • All faculty, staff, and students will complete a health screening at home every day, prior to getting on a bus or arriving on campus.
    • Campus visitors, including parents, guests, and vendors who wish to enter a building will be screened on campus at reception.
    • Individuals should stay home if they feel sick.
    • Dawson will follow Boulder Public Health protocols for what happens if someone displays symptoms.
    • Anyone exhibiting symptoms while at school will be moved to a health room on campus and attended until they can be picked up. Upper School student drivers with minor symptoms may drive themselves home after signing out.
    • The on-call nurse or Boulder Public Health can be called for consultation if needed.

  • Dawson is following Boulder County guidelines to maximize ridership and promote safety.
    • Maximum of 2 students per seat. Assigned seating.
    • Mask required for driver and students.
    • No one sitting within 6 ft of driver.
    • Windows open as much as possible.
    • Hand sanitizer used when entering the bus.
    • Bus cleaned after every route (includes wiping down seats, handrails, windows, and doors).
    • Eating or drinking on the bus are prohibited to ensure masks stay on.
    • Routes managed to balance ridership to maximize physical distancing.

  • Visitors/Parents/External guests will be screened.
    • Outside visitors are discouraged from entering buildings.
    • Conduct meetings virtually or off-site when appropriate. 
  • Dawson may add protocols around travel if/when they become recommendations of Boulder County Public Health or the Colorado Department of Education.

  • Meet or exceed public health-recommended cleaning standards.
    • High touch surfaces such as door knobs, copy machines, elevator buttons, light switches, bathroom faucets wiped down during the day.
    • A day porter is being hired to assist with wiping down high touch surfaces during the day and removing trash.
    • Professional cleaning crew campus wide cleaning at night.
    • Anti-bacterial wipes will be available. Teachers will work with students to wipe down desks/tables thoroughly when class is over.  
    • Separate supplies will be used when possible. Disinfect any shared items between users.
    • We have installed more water bottle fillers on-campus. Students and faculty to bring own water bottles.

  • Dawson will meet or exceed industry standards for ventilation and employee safety.
    • Dawson is making a variety of ventilation enhancements, including looking at the three levels of improving indoor air quality recommended by ASHRAE. These include ventilating with outdoor air, increasing filter efficiency, and supplementing with portable HEPA air cleaners. Each of our buildings is unique, so we are determining which of these is appropriate for each space.
    • We will also strive to be outside more frequently.
    • Plexiglass barriers have been installed in high traffic areas.

COVID Protocol FAQs

List of 12 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is Dawson's protocol around mask wearing, and how will it be enforced?

    Everyone - all ages - is expected to wear masks or face coverings at all times indoors. Outdoors, masks will be worn when 6' of social distance cannot be maintained. Masks should cover both the nose and the mouth.

    Dawson will be providing general education on best practices, including face coverings, and will have clear community expectations and signage reminders. We expect that the first part of the school year, the emphasis will be on everyone helping each other to develop good habits. Over time, ignoring the protocol repeatedly may result in age-appropriate consequences.
  • Q. Will students get any breaks from wearing masks?

    Teachers will strive to provide students with breaks during class. Outdoors will be used when possible; lunch and recess also provide breaks.
  • Q. How will 6' distancing be managed in classrooms? Will students share desks?

    We are fortunate to have a large campus, and every room is different. We spent extensive time this summer measuring and configuring rooms appropriately. Students would only share furniture where 6’ spacing permits.
  • Q. Is there a limit to the number of people that can be in a classroom?

    Colorado Department of Education and local guidelines are no longer focused on numbers of students in classrooms; rather they are emphasizing the use of other strategies to mitigate risk. Dawson's focus is on ensuring social distancing in all indoor classrooms.
  • Q. What does the daily health screening entail? How does it work?

    Families, faculty, staff, and any potential guests to campus will be provided a link to a brief Google form. We will be asking every individual to complete this form every day prior to arrival to campus, and to refrain from coming to  campus or sending their student if responses indicate.
  • Q. What will happen if someone in the Dawson community gets COVID-19?

    Dawson will follow the guidance of Boulder County Public Health, which is finalizing its protocols in late July. They have clinical criteria, contact tracers on staff, an epidemiologist dedicated to supporting schools, and will be available 24/7. Any decision is based on an array of factors, but BCPH will provide Dawson with direction on how to proceed.
  • Q. Does Dawson have a school nurse? What happens if someone becomes sick during the school day?

    Dawson has retained a new on-call nurse available to us as needed. If an individual has symptoms during the day, they will be brought to a designated room on campus and supervised by a PPE-protected employee until a parent can pick them up.
  • Q. What if my student has symptoms but I don't think it's COVID?

    Boulder County Public Health guidelines will include symptoms that could be things other than COVID. For the 2020-21 school year especially, we expect all families understand our shared responsibility and act with an abundance of caution. We are asking the any community member who does not feel well please stay home until its nature can be ascertained.
  • Q. Will Dawson be keeping track of families' travel? Do families need to self-quarantine after travel?

    We are developing community expectations around shared responsibility. In addition, we continue to follow public health and government recommendations for protocols; we may receive additional guidance from Boulder County. As “hot spots” are constantly changing, at this time, we are focused on screening for symptoms and possible exposure. 
  • Q. What is the cleaning protocol at the school?

    Dawson has a school-experienced, professional cleaning team, and we are committed to meeting/exceeding guidelines. High-touch areas will be cleaned during the day - we have hired a day porter, and staff will share responsibility. There will be a campus-wide clean each night. 
  • Q. What steps has Dawson taken with regard to ventilation systems?

    Dawson is making a variety of ventilation enhancements, including looking at the three levels of improving indoor air quality recommended by ASHRAE. These include ventilating with outdoor air, increasing filter efficiency, and supplementing with portable HEPA air cleaners. Each of our buildings is unique, so we are determining which of these is appropriate for each space. We also are looking into being outside more frequently.
  • Q. Will Dawson be providing or requiring coronavirus tests?

    Schools administering or requiring testing has not been recommended by authorities. We will coordinate with Boulder County Public Health on the merits of such a strategy, particularly given turnaround time and community resources. As a day-school, testing only reflects a moment in time. We continue to discuss, and to follow BCPH recommendations.
Excerpt from George Moore July 16 letter to the community. Check back for further details.

In addition to our stated broad academic guidelines, we are working to clarify our health and safety protocols; please see the latest below. Of course, like all plans in the current environment, these are subject to change.

Physical Distancing - Strive for 6 feet everywhere on campus. No large gatherings.

Face Covering - All students, faculty, staff, and visitors will wear masks indoors at all times. If the 6 feet cannot be maintained outside, masks will be worn.

Hygiene - Hand-washing and sanitizing will be emphasized; stations throughout campus.

Health Screening - Daily temperature and symptom screening (and reporting) will be required of all families, faculty, and staff at home, prior to arrival on campus or boarding a bus. Individuals with symptoms may not come to campus.

To support these priorities and to build a culture that reinforces good decision-making, we will provide ample signage throughout campus. In addition, we will discourage parents, volunteers, and guests from entering buildings for nonessential purposes. We also will continue to follow Boulder County protocols regarding testing, positive cases, suspension of classes, and return to campus.

Inside our buildings on campus, we are maximizing use of multiple entries and exits, limiting the use of hallways, optimizing ventilation systems, using open windows and doors where possible, ensuring professional cleaning staff are meeting/exceeding guidelines, and cleaning common areas or shared materials regularly.

Other Programs
  • Bus transportation will be offered. Masks will be required. New guidance permits two non-sibling children per seat when masked.
  • Lunch will be provided; services and options may be modified to facilitate distancing, hygiene, and safety.
  • After School Academy staffing and cohorting is being investigated so we can make a decision on its viability.
  • Athletics will follow CHSAA guidelines. We will have more information on our co-curricular opportunities before the school year begins.