March 2021


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DPS Board of Education approves Ignite Online Academy for 2021-22 school year

During Thursday night's Board of Education meeting, the board voted to launch Ignite Online Academy for the 2021-2022 school year.

Ignite Online Academy will be a completely virtual school and allow students to progress in studies at their own pace in their own space. The virtual learning option affirms the district's commitment to ensure staff are teaching either in-person or virtually during the 2021-2022 school year and allows us to provide focused, high-quality virtual options for students.

The Ignite Online Academy application for the 2021-2022 school year will open to families following Spring Break and more information on this will be sent to families and staff in the near future. Prior to making the decision to be part of Ignite, families will have at least three weeks to learn about the virtual academy and complete their application.

Durham Public Schools works with Ottendorf labs to offer free, voluntary COVID-19 testing to community

Durham Public Schools is pleased to announce that Ottendorf Labortories LLC has agreed to provide free asymptomatic PCR testing for COVID-19 at DPS schools.

A soft launch of the testing program started Thursday, March 25 at four schools — City of Medicine Academy, Mangum Elementary School, Merrick-Moore Elementary School, and Southwest Elementary School. Additional DPS sites will begin testing in staggered, scheduled rotations during the week of April 5. Secondary school sites will begin their scheduled, staggered testing the week of April 12, allowing for the return to in-person learning on April 8.

Testing will occur at DPS sites on a regular rotation. Testing site schedules will be shared via social media and available on the DPS website and individual school websites. Testing sites and testing frequency will be determined in consultation with the Durham County Department of Public Health, school administration, and the testing lab. Times for testing will vary depending on school hours. Each school will identify exterior locations on their campuses to accommodate testing.

While students and staff may access testing at their school, they may be tested at any DPS location.

Additionally, we will be sharing information directly with families about how they may register their students to be tested along with steps for accessing test results which are expected to be provided within 24 hours. All students will need parental consent to participate in testing.

Testing at school sites provides an additional layer of protection. We are committed to the health and well-being of every student and staff member, and we will continue to collaborate with organizations to keep the DPS and Durham communities safe.

#ReturnToTheClassroom | K-5 | March 15, 2021
DPS Health Minute | Understanding your emotions | Dr. Christopher Soto
Countdown to Kindergarten | Meet Sparky!


  • Kindergarten Enrollment started Feb. 15
  • Deaf History Month - March 15 - April 15

  • National Developmental Disabilities Month

  • DPS BOE Work Session - April 8
  • Ignite! Online Academy Virtual Ribbon Cutting - April 14

  • Minnie Forte-Brown Center for Staff Development Building Dedication - April 20

  • DPS Virtual Cooking Night - April 21
  • DPS BOE Monthly Meeting - April 22
  • Teacher Appreciation Week - May 3-7

About Durham Public Schools

Our school district is one of the top 10 largest in the state, serving more than 32,000 students in both the city and county of Durham. Durham is on an upward trend, recognized all over as one of the hot spots in the south -- from food to history to music to education -- more and more people are learning what those of us here already know: Durham is the place to be!