REMOTE, (Nov. 11 , 2020): Today, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is releasing a report to help schools determine their best course of action as cases rise. Public health order 20-36 further clarifies that school districts are allowed to make decisions regarding in-person, hybrid, or virtual learning.
The report reviews public health data that reveals that, in general, schools have been able to mitigate the disease by implementing school guidance. Strategies such as cohorting, mask wearing, and disease investigation seem to be working to prevent school outbreaks. Students in grades K-8 are at a lower risk for in-school transmission than high school students.
CDPHE continues to recommend that school districts:
- Prioritize in-person learning for specific populations based on need and risk.
- Eliminate or greatly restrict extracurricular activities.
- Implement additional protective measures in school.
The CDPHE guidance also stresses the need for schools to evaluate their ability to support the emotional and mental health of the school community, and develop tools and protocols (such as regular outreach to students and families, peer mentorship, individual learning plans and goal setting, and outreach for identified concerns) to support their community. These additional considerations are especially critical if school districts decide to move to remote learning.
Regardless of what strategy schools adopt, communication and coordination with educators, staff and other stakeholders in the school community is paramount. Individuals with medical vulnerabilities and other safety concerns should continue to receive support if they choose to learn or work remotely.
Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.