This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More at chalkbeat.org.
Students who are too young to receive a COVID vaccine will have to wear a mask in Jeffco schools this fall.
The state’s second-largest district announced the new rule Friday afternoon, a day after the county’s public health department released updated guidance.
The public health department strongly suggested masks for all people inside schools, regardless of vaccination status, and informed the school district that they would enforce quarantine procedures this fall. District leaders across the state have been calling for an end to quarantines because they disrupt in-person learning.
“They have indicated they will require quarantines for routine classroom exposure for anyone unvaccinated and not wearing a mask. This has major implications for our students age 11 and under, who are not eligible for the vaccination at this time,” reads the statement from Jeffco Public Schools.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends masks for everyone in a school setting. Colorado had previously recommended masks for people who were unvaccinated, but late Friday updated its guidance to match the CDC’s. However, local school districts can still set their own policies.
Although the guidelines from the county and the CDC recommend masks for everyone, Jeffco will require them only for children 11 and younger. Children older than that are strongly encouraged to wear masks if they are not vaccinated and urged to mask up even if they are.