Front Range districts still undecided about masks in classrooms a month before school year begins

Health experts concerned unvaccinated children will lead to surge in delta variant cases
Virus Outbreak Schools
Posted at 4:24 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 18:50:06-04

DENVER – Though the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced earlier this month students across the state would not have to wear masks when they head back to school, rising cases of the delta variant could force health officials to rescind the order, which expires Aug. 1.

So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said vaccinated teachers and students don’t need to wear masks inside school buildings, while unvaccinated people should continue to wear them.

However, recent news that emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine in children younger than 12 could come in early to midwinter has health experts worried about the potential for the delta variant to spread among unvaccinated children once school starts.

The concern is such that the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that anyone over the age of 2 wear a mask – regardless of vaccination status – once the new school year begins.

For parts of the Denver metro area, that day could come as early Aug. 9.

MORE: Denver ER doctor sounding the alarm over delta variant, recommends indoor masking

As we get closer and closer to the start of the new school year, which is about a month away for most metro area schools, many parents want to know if their kids will have to mask up when they head to back.

Here’s what seven school districts from across the Front Range said Monday about their mask policy once the 2021-2022 school year begins.

27J Schools
Classes begin Aug. 11

“As it stands now, we recognize that our public health partners at Tri-County Health are recommending anyone unvaccinated should wear a mask. We'll share that recommendation with our parents and families. We will continue to partner with our local Tri-County Health agency and be vigilant in case any changes arise in the coming months.”

Adams 14 Schools
Classes begin Aug. 10

“Regarding masks, we are still monitoring recommendations from health agency partners and will be communicating with families, accordingly.”

Aurora Public Schools
Classes for kids in grades 1-12 begin Aug. 12

“We are continuing to work with our health partners on our mask policy for the new school year and will share more information with our community as soon as possible.”

Cherry Creek Schools
Classes begin Aug. 16

Cherry Creek Schools officials said last week they hope “masks will be optional for all students and staff when school resumes in August," adding, “Even if masks are optional when we return, anyone who is not fully vaccinated will be strongly encouraged to wear a mask while indoors.”

Denver Public Schools
Classes begin Aug. 23

A spokesperson for Denver Public Schools said the district has not come to any decision on masks yet. The latest guidance from the district appears on their website as follows:

Some health protocols may still be in place, such as the use of masks and limiting the number of students in large gatherings. We will continue to work with our health partners and share more details about health protocols as we get closer to the start of school in the fall.”

Douglas County Schools
Classes for most students begin Aug. 9

“Masks will not be required for students or staff, with the exception of school buses which is required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Anyone who is 12+ years and not fully vaccinated is strongly encouraged to wear a mask indoors, but it will not be required. Of course, face coverings may be worn by those who feel more comfortable doing so.”

Jeffco Schools
Classes begin Aug. 17

“We have not yet made any decisions about possible changes to current health protocols. When we do, we will send a message to our community and the media.”

As of July 15, nearly 4.09 million children have been infected with the novel coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Those numbers represent 14.2% of all cases in the United States.

At least 397 children, ages 0-17, have died from COVID-19, CDC data shows.