Sunday, 7 Aug 2022

CDPHE recommends mask mandates for everyone inside K-12 schools

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Friday updated its COVID-19 protocols to recommend mask mandates for everyone inside K-12 schools.

State health officials “updated and clarified” its guide for schools to ensure best practices and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDPHE said in a news release.

“In the updated guidance, CDPHE recommends local public health agencies and school districts implement mask requirements for all individuals entering K-12 schools in Colorado including students, staff, teachers and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status or level of community transmission,” according to the release.

Previously, the CDPHE recommended that districts and local health agencies “consider” masking rules, including just for unvaccinated people.

Friday’s recommendation aims to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help schools continue with in-person learning, the CDPHE said.

“This is especially important in settings where vaccination rates are low and where many students are not yet eligible for vaccination,” the release said. “Even when not required by local public health or a school district, staff and students may choose to wear masks.”

The CDPHE also urged districts to upgrade school ventilation systems, with improved air exchanges and filters, as a way to combat COVID-19, which is spread through respiratory droplets.

Outdoor activities at school, including meal times, are encouraged by the CDPHE.

“If at least 80% of individuals age 12 and older within a school community have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, no one, including unvaccinated individuals, needs to quarantine following a typical classroom exposure to a case,” the news release said. “In areas with low vaccination rates and high case rates, schools must work with their local public health agency to determine quarantine requirements when cases of COVID-19 are identified.”

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