Two weeks after the local public health agency for Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties stopped short of requiring masks in schools, Tri-County Health Department announced this week that it plans to consider issuing some type of mask order for students.
The announcement comes following an outpouring of comments the agency received from the public — largely in favor of a mask mandate, according to the agency’s chief.
In late July, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released new K-12 school guidelines that left the choice of whether to require masks up to school districts.
Across the Denver metro area, school school mask rules now vary widely. Some districts didn’t mandate masks, and others are requiring them for vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike.
“We have gotten more letters in the last week than we have in the entire time I’ve been here at Tri-County,” with most of the comments favoring a mask requirement, said John Douglas, executive director of Tri-County Health, speaking at a Thursday meeting of Tri-County’s board.
At an Aug. 16 meeting, the board will consider whether to issue a mask order for at least some students in Tri-County’s jurisdiction.
How broad the proposal could be was unclear. The agency may consider an approach that “focuses largely” on younger kids, those under age 12 who cannot yet get vaccinated, said Douglas.
But “some would argue a mandate that includes every kid (is easier to apply),” Douglas said. “Both these strategies are worth considering.”