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Students starting classes in Jeffco schools Tuesday will have to wear masks after all, regardless of age or their vaccination status.
The Jefferson County Public Health Department issued an order Monday that requires masks for anyone age 2 or older when in childcare and K-12 schools. The order also requires all unvaccinated students and staff participating in extracurricular activities to undergo routine testing during the school year, starting Sept. 7.
“Over the past few weeks, we have seen schools that do not require masking in other parts of the country be required to send large numbers of students home to quarantine and even close schools,” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, executive director of Jefferson County Public Health. “While our department released very strong guidance to Jeffco schools and childcare settings recommending they require mask-wearing, unfortunately too few schools and childcares have adopted this safe and effective mitigation strategy.”
In a message to families, the Jeffco school district announced that despite having just set up a process to provide medical and religious exemptions, the public health order will not allow for religious exemptions, only medical ones.
The Jeffco order takes effect Tuesday and applies to all schools in the county, including charter schools and private schools.
The order also asks schools to space students out by six feet when they remove their masks indoors such as during lunch.