On August 16, Jefferson County Public Health released Public Health Order 21-002, which requires everyone ages 2 and older to wear a mask when indoors at all schools and school-based extracurricular activities, as well as childcare settings in Jefferson County. Additionally, the Order requires all unvaccinated faculty and staff, as well as all unvaccinated students and adults who are participating in school-based extracurricular activities, to undergo routine testing during the academic year.
In Jefferson County from August 2-8, 2021, there were 535 new cases (91.8 per 100,000 residents) of COVID-19, compared to only 110 new cases (18.9 per 100,000 residents) from July 2-8, 2021. Cases have increased rapidly over the past month for both children and adults. Most new cases are among people who are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated, and at this time, 41.2% of those ages 12-15 and 37.4% of those ages 16-19 have not received even one dose of vaccine. Children under 12 are also vulnerable as they are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Based on sample testing, it’s estimated that the Delta variant is responsible for nearly 100% of COVID-19 cases in Colorado. The Delta variant, which is twice as infectious as prior strains, appears to have a greater impact on children ages 19 and under as compared to past strains of the virus.
Summary of Requirements for Schools and Childcares in Jeffco
- Masks for all individuals ages 2+ indoors in all schools, childcares and school-based extracurricular activities
- Implement a COVID-19 testing policy by September 7, 2021, requiring all unvaccinated faculty and staff to be tested weekly throughout the school year
- Implement a COVID-19 testing policy by September 7, 2021, requiring all unvaccinated students and adults participating in school-based extracurricular activities to be tested weekly
- Post signage that masks are required at their facilities (signage provided in the Order)
- 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
- Social distancing of at least six feet when masks are removed as permitted in the Order (e.g., When students are eating and drinking at meal times indoors)
Summary of Recommendations for Schools and Childcares in Jeffco
- Promoting vaccinations to increase coverage among eligible students, faculty and staff
- Require vaccinations for faculty and staff, as well as all adults and eligible students participating in school-based sports and extracurricular activities
- Follow additional recommendations outlined in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Back to School Roadmap to layer as many additional precautionary measures as feasible to keep students, faculty and staff safe
The Public Health Order goes into effect on August 17.