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Boulder County to drop mask mandate for schools, public indoor spaces

Virus Outbreak Biden Masks
Posted at 9:23 AM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 12:40:59-05

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — The Boulder County Board of Health voted to drop masks in public indoor spaces and in schools beginning Friday.

The board voted unanimously to rescind the public health order beginning at 5 p.m. Friday. The order currently requires all individuals who are 2 and older to wear masks in all indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.

The county was one of the first in the state to reinstate a public indoor mask mandate on Sept. 3 due to high transmission of COVID-19. At the time the mask mandate was reinstated, Boulder County’s transmission rate was 136.42 case per 100,000. It’s current transmission rate is 318.83 cases per 100,000.

Camille Rodriguez, BCPH executive director, said the most recent data for Boulder County is encouraging, with 73% of the county’s residents up to date with their vaccinations and an apparent peak in the transmission of the omicron variant.

“Despite those positive trends, not all the news is good,” Rodriguez said. “The number of COVID-19 deaths in Boulder County continues to increase and, although hospitalizations are decreasing, new COVID-19 cases continue to add strain to the county’s already over-taxed health care providers.”

Boulder County is the last counties of the metro area to announce plans to drop the mask mandate, with several counties making the decision in the last few weeks, and school districts have followed suit.

On Wednesday afternoon, Boulder Valley School District confirmed masks would no longer be required at schools after the mandate expires, but still "strongly recommended" staff and students wear them. The district said it would continue to follow public health guidance for schools, including testing, increased airflow and ventilation, illness protocols and disease surveillance.

On Thursday, the University of Colorado Boulder announced it would continue requiring masks while indoors.

BCPH still recommended anyone 2 years old and up wear a mask around others and encouraged schools, child care facilities and youth activity providers to enact their own indoor mask policies to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for staff and students.

All existing state and federal mask requirements remain in place, including on school buses and public transportation and in Head Start programs, and for unvaccinated individuals jails, prisons, health care settings and homeless shelters.