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Jeffco amends public health order on masks in schools

The order also no longer requires six feet of social distancing when masks are removed during meal times or when playing instruments indoors.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Two-year-olds in Jefferson County are no longer required to wear masks in school, and childcare settings after the county's health department amended a public health order.

The order previously required masks for all children ages two and up, but the minimum age is now three, according to a release from Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH)

>WATCH: The video above is about the divide created by the issue of masks in schools.

The amended order also no longer requires social distancing of at least six feet when masks are removed during meal times or when playing instruments indoors, according to the release. Instead, JCPH strongly recommends maintaining at least three feet of distance in those situations.

“Last week we hosted a town hall with more than 60 childcare owners and operators in the county and received feedback on JCPH’s Public Health Order pertaining to schools and childcares," JCPH Executive Director Dr. Dawn Comstock said in the release. 

"We heard the most common challenges with implementing the Order were masking among 2 year-olds, as well as the inability to maintain six-feet distance when children are unmasked during meal times due to lack of space in many smaller facilities,” Comstock added. “While JCPH’s original Order follows guidance from CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Colorado regarding appropriate ages for use of face coverings, we listened to those in our community who work with young children every day and have modified the age for required masking from age 2 and older to age 3 and older."

The amended order includes the following requirements, according to the release:

  • Masks for all individuals age three and up indoors in all schools, childcare facilities and school-based and school-sponsored extracurricular activities
  • By September 7, implement a COVID-19 testing policy requiring all unvaccinated faculty and staff to be tested weekly throughout the school year
  • By September 7, implement a COVID-19 testing policy requiring all unvaccinated students and adults participating in school-based and school-sponsored extracurricular activities to be tested weekly
  • Post signage that masks are required at their facilities
  • Enforcement of quarantine for individuals who are unvaccinated and unmasked when exposed to an individual case, and enforcement of quarantine for all unvaccinated individuals — masked and unmasked — who are exposed in outbreaks
  • Enforcement of isolation for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19
  • Cooperation in case investigations and contact tracing, including reporting cases and outbreaks to JCPH

The release said JCPH also strongly encourages schools and childcare facilities to follow other elements in JCPH's Guidance for Schools and Childcare,  including promoting vaccinations to increase coverage among eligible students, faculty and staff. 

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