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Masks to be recommended, but not required, for Adams 12 Five Star Schools students

Effective Aug. 2, all staff will be required to wear masks when in schools or district buildings whether they are vaccinated or not, the district said.

THORNTON, Colo. — Adams 12 Five Star Schools announced Friday it will require masks for staff, but not students, as the upcoming school year gets underway.

According to a letter to families shared on the school district's website, masks are recommended for all students, regardless of vaccination status, but the administration will honor parents' decisions when it comes to their children wearing or not wearing masks.

>WATCH: The video above is about updated CDC guidance on the use of masks.

Effective Monday, Aug. 2, all staff will be required to wear masks when in schools or district buildings whether they are vaccinated or not, the letter says. 

"Our best hope is that it will minimize the number of staff, whether vaccinated or not, who will be required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days due to contracting COVID," the letter says.

All adult visitors and volunteers will be required to wear masks, as well, the letter says. 

Anyone on a district bus will have to wear one. They will not be required in outdoor areas.

The letter cites high vaccination rates in the two counties the district serves, Adams and Broomfield, in explaining why they can follow the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)'s guidance for low-risk counties. 

RELATED: Unvaccinated staff at Aurora Public Schools must wear masks; unvaccinated students exempt

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The public health agencies that represent those two counties, Tri-County Health Department and Broomfield Public Health, issued guidance this week recommending the use of masks in indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. Those recommendations come in the wake of new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seeking to slow the spread of the more contagious delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.

Several metro-area health departments have issued guidance in recent days recommending masks regardless of vaccination status, but none have required them.

RELATED: CDC document warns delta variant appears to be as contagious as chickenpox

RELATED: County health departments issue guidance on indoor mask wearing

The district said students and staff will not be required to quarantine unless their school is experiencing an outbreak, defined as five or more cases tied to the original positive case. School communities will no longer be notified of positive or symptomatic cases, according to the letter, but there may be exceptions when an exposure involves high-risk activities or medically fragile students.

The letter says the district will continue to implement layered prevention strategies including increased ventilation, frequent hand washing and sanitizing, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols and reinforcing the importance of staying home when sick.

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