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9-R Board of Education Updates Mask Policy

Durango School District 9-R will be updating its masking guidance based on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) published COVID-19 pandemic guidance that outlines a path toward ‘routine disease control.’

Durango School District issued updated COVID protocols that will take effect on Monday, Feb. 28. Beginning on that date, masks will no longer be required, but will be strongly recommended for all students, staff, and visitors across Durango Schools. Masks are still required in all school settings through that date.

The district’s health partners, leaders, and Board of Education made this decision based on high rates of immunity and lower rates of severe disease. Details regarding the shift in response involve moving to routine disease control strategies.

Routine Disease Control Strategies for COVID-19 per the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment include:

  • Vaccination of eligible staff and students.
  • Isolation when ill or positive for Sars CoV-2.
  • Testing and masking for staff and students following illness and exposures.
  • Encouraging regular mask use by staff and students, even when not required by local public health orders. CDC continues to recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status and at all transmission levels. Based on the current CDC and CDPHE guidelines masking will be required in the following cases: 
    • When a student or staff elects for a shortened isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.  The individual may return to school or work on day 6 with a well fitting mask.
    • When a student or staff elects for a shortened quarantine a home based exposure per SJBPH.  The individual may return to school or work on day 6 with a well fitting mask.
    • Symptomatic individuals in our Health Offices.
    • On school buses (per federal order).
    • For classroom or school outbreaks or clusters of positive cases.
  • Additionally, if workforce capacity is impacted by positive cases, masking may become required. 
  • Respond to clusters of cases (including increases in respiratory illness) and outbreaks with temporary universal masking and testing
  • Continue to report identified cases and outbreaks to public health as required by Colorado Statute and Regulation (6 CCR 1009-1). 
  • In lieu of individual case investigation and contact tracing, implement new cluster or outbreak detection strategies including public health reporting of school absenteeism data and participation in wastewater surveillance. CDPHE is exploring funding mechanisms to support this work.

UPDATED DURANGO SCHOOL DISTRICT 9-R PROTOCOLS

Goal: To optimize student access to in-person learning while at the same time promoting health and safety by minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Staff and student face coverings

  • We are a mask friendly school district, and we strongly encourage face coverings during moderate to high transmission.
  • In accordance with federal law and CDPHE’s executive order, everyone must wear a mask on buses regardless of vaccination status.
  • Mask requirements may change in accordance with Public Health Advisories or Executive Orders
  • After February 28, 2022, and in accordance with the CDPHE guidelines for transitioning to routine disease control. Durango School District 9-R removed the mask requirement as part of the dress code during the February 22, 2022 meeting.  The new guidance, including a shift to masks “recommended” will go into effect on February 28, 2022.  Based on the current CDC and CDPHE guidelines masking will be required in the following cases: 
    • When a student or staff elects for a shortened isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.  The individual may return to school or work on day 6 with a well fitting mask.
    • When a student or staff elects for a shortened quarantine a home based exposure per SJBPH.  The individual may return to school or work on day 6 with a well fitting mask.
    • Symptomatic individuals in our Health Offices.
    • For classroom or school outbreaks or clusters of positive cases.
  • Additionally, if workforce capacity is impacted by positive cases, masking may become required. 

Vaccinations

  • Durango Schools is encouraging, but not requiring staff or students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  
  • Please provide an up-to-date vaccination card/record to the school. This will help prevent the need to quarantine if indicated

Parents, volunteers, and school visitors

  • Parents, volunteers, and school visitors are permitted with the following measures in place:
    • Self-monitoring for symptoms is still required before entering a building. 
    • Masks are recommended.

Sanitizing and disinfecting

  • Following updated Control and Prevention guidance, Durango Schools will transition to more traditional disinfection and sanitization practices.  Bottles of sanitizer will still be available to use as needed, but frequent disinfectant spraying is not required.

Social distancing

  • Durango School District will resume traditional spacing in the school setting.

Illness protocols

  • Students and staff should not attend if they are ill.
  • Symptomatic individuals at school will be provided an opportunity to take a rapid COVID-19 test. Symptomatic/positive individuals must leave campus within 1 hour of notification of symptom on-set. Families, please ensure contact information is correct and provide emergency contacts in the event that your child becomes ill during the school day.
  • Students and staff will follow the Return to Learn guidance from CDPHE.   

Testing

  • Students and staff can opt-in to weekly testing provided by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 
  • Health Service Providers will provide rapid testing for symptomatic individuals who develop symptoms at school. Parents/guardians will provide permission prior to administering the test.

Field Trips

  • Field trips will be permitted with several procedures in place and in alignment with guidance: 
    • Frequent hand washing and sanitizing

Food and nutrition

  • School cafeterias will operate in a traditional manner with students eating their lunch in the cafeteria.

Communication Protocols

  • In accordance with health guidance, 9-R will no longer require quarantining of those who may have been exposed to a positive and/or symptomatic individual in the school or community setting.  However, local public health authorities may recommend quarantine for household contacts.  9-R health service providers will work with families on best practices and will provide guidance as needed. 
  • This updated guidance means that 9-R will no longer notify school communities (staff, parents and guardians) about positive and/or symptomatic cases. Staff, parents and guardians will no longer receive emails and automated phone calls about positive cases in their school.
  • In the event of outbreaks or clusters of cases in a particular school, families will be notified regarding next steps.

SUMMARY OF THE ROAD MAP TOWARD ROUTINE DISEASE CONTROL FOR COVID-19

 

Routine Disease Control Model

No evidence of in- school transmission

Baseline Strategies:

  • Stay home if ill
  • Hand hygiene
  • Cleaning/disinfecting
  • Optimize ventilation
  • Offer testing symptomatic and exposed 
  • Isolate covid positive individuals
  • No routine quarantine for school exposures
  • Encourage masking 

Evidence of in-school transmission (Outbreak or Clusters of cases)

Baseline Strategies, plus

  • Temporary universal classroom or school masking and testing upon consultation with SJBPH to decrease in-school transmission
  • Possible quarantine 

Please keep in mind, these protocols could change and become more relaxed or restrictive, depending on executive orders and COVID conditions in our community throughout the school year.  With your support of these efforts, we look forward to continuing a successful, in-person school year.

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