The Douglas County School District is not backing down from its newly announced rule requiring students through sixth grade to wear face masks indoors as a COVID-19 safety measure, despite a decision by county commissioners last week to “opt out” of a public-health agency’s order on masks in schools.
“As previously communicated, effective Monday, Aug. 23, the Douglas County School District will begin to require all students in Preschool through Sixth Grade to wear face coverings in all indoor school settings,” district Superintendent Corey Wise said in a Friday email to district families and staff. “This requirement will also apply to all staff who work with this age group.”
Wise’s email (reproduced below) reinforces Wise’s Aug. 17 announcement of the new policy. Previously the district only recommended that students wear masks.
That announcement followed a public health order earlier on the 17th from the board of the Tri-County Health Department, which provides public-health services to Douglas County as well as Adams and Arapahoe counties. Tri-County’s order required mask wearing for all children aged 2 to 11 years old as well as staffers interacting with those children inside schools in the department’s three-county jurisdictions.
Children under age 12 currently are not eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
That order, and DCSD’s mask-policy announcement, was followed on Thursday by a four-hours-long meeting of Douglas County commissioners, who voted unanimously to opt out of the Tri-County order, as the agency allows counties to do.
The opt-out vote left it up to the school district to decide whether to move forward with its new mark rule.