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Denver-area superintendents request end to mandatory quarantines, citing low transmission rates

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Posted at 4:37 PM, Apr 28, 2021

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — Twelve Denver-area school superintendents are calling on state health officials to end quarantine protocols, citing low COVID-19 transmission rates within schools and the disruption to learning for students who are impacted by the protocols.

"It's time to eliminate mandatory COVID quarantines in Colorado's schools," said a letter to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, signed by superintendents of the following districts: Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Elizabeth School District, Mapleton School District, Jeffco Public Schools, Littleton Public Schools, 27J Schools, Aurora Public Schools, Englewood Schools, Platte Canyon School District, Cherry Creek School District, Westminster Public Schools and Douglas County School District.

Officials from Denver Public Schools, the state's largest school district, did not sign the letter. Read the full letter here.

Thousands of Colorado students and school staff have had to go home due to quarantine protocols throughout the year as part of schools' contact tracing efforts. Though according to data from the 12 superintendents Wednesday, less than 0.5% of those students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

"The frequent school quarantines have caused constant disruption to classroom environments, stress for students preparing for end of year exams, and a lack of predictability and consistency in almost every facet of a student's school experience," the superintendents' letter said.

In one extreme case, one metro student has been sent home to quarantine six times over the course of the school year, and the superintendents reported that many students have had to quarantine 2-3 times during the year.

"More than 3000 students per week have been completing quarantines over the past two weeks across the 13 districts currently participating in the COVID data reporting effort," the superintendents' letter said, "and their COVID infection rate has been less than two tenths of one percent."

The superintendents' request comes as state officials are reporting an uptick in COVID-19 cases among children and teens. But reducing the amount of students in quarantine give "students the opportunity to finish the school year with consistency, predictability, and focus that they'll otherwise lose out on as they get on and off the quarantine carousel," the superintendents wrote.