DENVER — The Colorado Department of Health and Environment shortened the amount of time teachers and students need to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. Now, Colorado schools are aligned with guidance that was released by the CDC last Thursday.
Starting Monday, teachers and students within Denver Public Schools who test positive can return to school after five days if their symptoms improve and are they fever free, without the use of medication, for 24 hours.
The new guidance from the state health department comes at a time when COVID-19 continues to impact schools. As of Monday, 78 DPS staff have tested positive, along with 187 students. Officials say eight schools are operating with full or partial remote learning.
For Rob Gould, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, it’s gotten to the point where going remote will have to be considered.
"We’re monitoring it closely to see where it is," he said. "What we have asked the district is if you’re not willing to do a full district-wide pause, then at least provide that individual school with the autonomy to be able to make the decision from the school leadership."
Emails and calls to DPS on Monday were not immediately returned.
For some DPS parents, shortening the isolation time from 10 to five days is too soon.
"I feel like it is not enough time just because we see such high rates in positivity with the children, especially," said Brittany Hay, whose child attends a DPS school. "But I mean, what can we do? We really need our teachers, and we need to keep moving forward with our work and our school."
Hay understands a faster quarantine could help the district when it comes to staffing shortages but says there’s a balance.
"Just consider everybody’s perspective on this and a lot of us cannot afford to miss work, but at the same time are we going to sacrifice our children’s health as well?" said Hay.
Following the five-day isolation period, students and teachers are advised to wear a tight-fitting mask for another five days, both at home and school.
Gould says if the option to go remote is taken, they wouldn’t want it to be for more than a few days.
"We’re recommending that if we do need to go to remote learning that it be for a short period of time because teachers don’t want to go to remote," said Gould.
Aurora Public Schools will also follow the new five-day quarantine guidelines at the recommendation of Tri-County Health.