Several Colorado school districts drop mask mandates but still recommend masking up

BCPH will discuss the future of masks next week
Boulder Valley School District
Posted at 5:13 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 19:35:04-05

DENVER — Come February 25, all schools and child care facilities across Denver Public Schools will no longer require masks, a decision the district took after the Denver Department of Health and Environment saw a nearly 80% decrease in cases and an increased vaccination rate in the city.

“I think the biggest thing that it means is that there is a better communication that can happen within the classroom," said DPS spokesperson Scott Pribble. "It is not just the words that might be a little be muffled, but you can still understand them, but now you’re also able to see some facial expressions."

While masks are no longer required, they’re still recommended.

“We are allowing the option and encouraging our visitors, students and staff to wear a mask within the building, and so if you feel strongly about that, I encourage you to do that," Pribble said. "I can tell you for myself, I will still do that."

DPS’s decision aligns with other school districts across Colorado. One school district that hasn’t yet made a decision is Boulder Valley School District.

“I would like for them to ease up on the restrictions,” said one man as his picked up his niece from the Mapleton Early Childhood Center.

Come Monday, during a Boulder County Public Health meeting, new guidance on masks could be on the way for both schools and all indoor public settings.

“I think we are just over the omicron hump and potentially going to give us another huge setback, and working as an ICU nurse during this entire pandemic and seeing the death and devastation it has caused, it just seems like a risky move,” said Leslie Smith, who was picking up her child from school.

Even with what seems like a sudden shift in mask requirements, state public health officials want people to be aware that the situation could change, despite a predicted decrease in cases and hospitalizations.

“We don’t know what will come next," said Scott Bookman, COVID-19 incident commander. "The science on this virus is continuing to evolve, and we do want to make sure that people know that while the next few months look very promising, it is possible that we will come back to you at another point and talk about what measures do we need to take."

Those measures could include the reintroduction of masks or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

DPS also says it will continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation.

“If there is another spike and we see another variant that comes in and we need to put our masks back on for the safety of students and our staff, that is exactly what we will do,” said Pribble.