Statewide, (July 30, 2021): The state updated the practical guide for operationalizing school guidance today, recommending that local public health agencies and school districts consider either mask requirements for all unvaccinated individuals-- or a masking requirement for all individuals in schools, particularly in higher-risk environments. The updated guidance comes in response to the CDC releasing new guidance earlier this week and as the state defends itself against the Delta variant.
While the state guidance outlines how local districts and governments can operationalize CDC guidance, it is distinct in providing greater options for schools. The CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) practical guide for operationalizing school guidance has been updated to reflect these new guidelines on masking in schools. This guide is designed to help schools operationalize public health recommendations and goes into effect Aug. 1, 2021.
“We all want children to be back at school and as safe as possible. Masks will help us slow the spread of the Delta variant and avoid school closures,” said Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, CDPHE. “Masks are an added layer of protection, as we hope that even more children ages 12+ will get vaccinated.”
Because many students have yet to be vaccinated and students under 12 are not yet eligible, state officials agree that schools need to take thoughtful mitigation steps to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and prevent school outbreaks.
The guide is geared toward disease control and minimizing the risk of exposure in education settings. But we know students’ wellness extends well beyond just disease control. Schools, educators, parents, and students must balance all of the needs of our students in order to achieve wellness and create a productive learning environment.
Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.