The Tri-County Health Department Board of Health has reversed its decision to allow individual counties to opt-out of mask mandates, and instead issued a universal face covering requirement for all schools in Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties, regardless of vaccination status, starting Wednesday.
Adams and Douglas counties opted out of the mask order when it went into effect last week. The board’s previous order also allowed fully vaccinated students above the age of 12 to forego masks.
TCHD executive director Dr. John Douglas said the policy was rescinded due to the spread of the Delta variant within the state.
“The most important thing we can do for children’s mental health and well-being is to assure in-person learning and limit interruptions to this in-person learning by keeping children and the classrooms safe,” he said. “We have reached a point where transmission has increased significantly and is putting our communities at risk. The new mask order will help to protect those who cannot get vaccinated and allow children to continue in-person learning.”
COVID-19 cases among those ages 0 to 19 accounted for about 26 percent of cases last week, according to state health officials. 19 people under the age of 19 have died from COVID-19 in the state. Vaccines for children under 12 have yet to be approved by the FDA.
School has barely started for most districts, yet outbreaks and quarantine have already struck. Just among schools within Tri-County, there were 15 outbreaks during the month of August.
Gov. Jared Polis has stated there are no plans for a statewide mask mandate for students, despite concerns about the Delta variant’s spread through unvaccinated populations.
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