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Public Health - News

Posted on: August 28, 2021

JCPH Amends PHO 21-002: Order now requires masks for everyone ages 3+ in school settings

JCPH amends PHO 21-002

Jefferson County, Colo. — Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) has amended Public Health Order 21-002, which now requires everyone ages 3 and older (instead of 2 and older) to wear a mask when indoors at all schools and school-based extracurricular activities as well as all childcare settings in Jefferson County. Additionally, the amended Order no longer requires social distancing of at least 6 ft. when masks are removed during meal times or when playing instruments indoors, and instead, JCPH strongly recommends maintaining at least 3 ft. distance in these instances. The amended Order is effective immediately and until it is rescinded, superseded or amended. 

“Last week we hosted a town hall with more than 60 childcare owners and operators in the county and received feedback on JCPH’s Public Health Order pertaining to schools and childcares. We heard the most common challenges with implementing the Order were masking among 2 year-olds, as well as the inability to maintain six-feet distance when children are unmasked during meal times due to lack of space in many smaller facilities,” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, Executive Director, JCPH. “While JCPH’s original Order follows guidance from CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Colorado regarding appropriate ages for use of face coverings, we listened to those in our community who work with young children every day and have modified the age for required masking from age 2 and older to age 3 and older. Additionally, we’ve modified our Order to strongly recommend at least 3 ft. distancing when unmasked for meal times. We thank our community for sharing their feedback, appreciate their commitment to health and wellness of the children in their care, and recognize this will help childcare providers implement mitigation protocols more easily and effectively in their settings, so we can all continue to work together to stop the rising spread of COVID-19 while emphasizing, prioritizing, and protecting in-person school and childcare.”

In summary, the amended PHO 21-002 now requires:

  • Masks for all individuals age 3+ indoors in all schools, childcares and school-based and school-sponsored extracurricular activities
  • By September 7, implement a COVID-19 testing policy requiring all unvaccinated faculty and staff to be tested weekly throughout the school year 
  • By September 7, implement a COVID-19 testing policy requiring all unvaccinated students and adults participating in school-based and school-sponsored extracurricular activities to be tested weekly 
  • Post signage that masks are required at their facilities
  • Enforcement of quarantine for individuals who are unvaccinated and unmasked when exposed to an individual case, and enforcement of quarantine for all unvaccinated individuals — masked and unmasked — who are exposed in outbreaks
  • Enforcement of isolation for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19
  • Cooperation in case investigations and contact tracing, including reporting cases and outbreaks to JCPH

JCPH also continues to strongly encourage schools and childcares to following other elements in JCPH’s Guidance for Schools and Childcares, including promoting vaccinations to increase coverage among eligible students, faculty and staff. 

“Thank you to schools and childcare facilities for taking steps needed to protect children in our community from COVID-19,” Comstock said. “We want to be as responsive as possible to your feedback as we understand the need to balance the implementation of numerous viral mitigation strategies with practical challenges and constraints of school and childcare settings. We admire the work you do and will continue to work toward our common goal of keeping kids healthy and safe .”

For more information about the amended PHO 21-002 and complete requirements for schools and childcares, view the full Order

 

About Jefferson County Public Health 

Public health is what we do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.

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