Douglas County Commissioners George Teal, Lora Thomas and Abe Laydon. (Provided by Douglas County)

This story first appeared in a Colorado Community Media newspaper. Support CCM’s neighborhood news. The Colorado Sun is an owner of CCM.

Douglas County commissioners are seeking to overturn the Tri-County Health Department’s recently-approved school mask rules by having their attorney raise objections about how the health agency approved the mandate.

Commissioners unanimously agreed Monday to have their lawyer communicate with the health agency regarding the Aug. 17 meeting of Tri-County’s board where the vote on the COVID-safety order took place. 

Tri-County is the public health authority for Douglas, Adams and Arapahoe counties.

“The process will be initiating a complaint by communicating with Tri-County Board of Health our objection to their conduct of their meeting and then directing legal staff to be prepared to follow along with the process to invalidate the public health order issued last week,” Commissioner George Teal said during a commissioner work session.

As of publishing time, it was not known when the county would send its objection to Tri-County  or if the county was considering filing a legal complaint against the agency.

From left: Douglas County commissioners Roger Partridge, Lora Thomas and Abe Laydon. (Handout)

In the Aug. 17 meeting, Tri-County’s board of health approved a requirement that masks be worn inside school buildings by students ages 2 to 11 and any staff members that work with them. 

Douglas County’s commissioners then chose to opt out of that mandate Aug. 19, saying they don’t believe it is necessary and that it takes choice away from parents. 

Before commissioners voted on that, a county attorney said that according to the public health order, when a county opts out, it is then left to the school districts and individual schools to decide if they wish to follow the order.

Douglas County School District officials said Aug. 20 that because of the district’s own policies, the district would comply with the Tri-County order regardless of the county opting out. 


Elliott Wenzler wrote about politics, water, housing, and other topics for The Colorado Sun from October 2022 through September 2023. She has covered community issues in Colorado since 2019, including for Colorado Community Media. She has been...