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Colorado school districts to work with local health departments amid coronavirus threat

In general, districts plan to keep schools open unless public health authorities tell them to close

Classrooms at Fowler High School use 9x9-inch tiles for flooring. School Dist. Supt. Alfie Lotrich says replacing the tiles is both financially and logistically prohibitive, since doing so would require asbestos abatement and the sealing off parts of the school. He added that "as long as all the asbestos is not disturbed or encased " there no need for concern. (Mike Sweeney, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Colorado school districts have pledged to work closely with local public health authorities to keep students safe as federal health officials expressed mounting concern about the spread of coronavirus cases.

COVID-19 IN COLORADO

The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTINGHere’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • VACCINE HOTLINE: Get up-to-date information.

>> FULL COVERAGE

In general, districts plan to keep schools open unless public health authorities tell them to close. Some districts said they’re working on ways to continue instruction if schools close, but it’s not clear yet what that would look like — or if it will ever be necessary.

Centers for Disease Control officials said in a news briefing Tuesday that spread of the virus in the United States is inevitable and urged agencies, including school districts, to prepare plans to help slow the spread. Those could include dividing classes into smaller groups or closing school altogether. Those steps are not necessary yet, but school districts should be prepared to put such measures in place, officials said.

Local district plans call for closely tracking attendance data to report daily to state health agencies and stepping up sanitation efforts. Districts are also looking at other roles that schools could play. For example, in a worst-case scenario in which health centers are overwhelmed, Jeffco has a plan to designate seven school sites as places where community members could receive medicine or vaccines.

As of Tuesday, the CDC reported 14 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. None of them in Colorado.

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