Aurora Public Schools update COVID-19 guidance ahead of 2021-22 school year

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A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The superintendent of Aurora Public Schools released new COVID-19 guidelines ahead of the 2021-22 school year on Friday afternoon. The guidelines cover how the school will deal with vaccinated and unvaccinated students, face coverings, and several other topics that have become prominent during and after the pandemic.

Vaccine requirements

The district says all staff members will be required to get vaccinated and they’re “strongly encouraging” eligible students 12 years of age and older to get vaccinated. The mandate for staff was put into place last school year. More information on how to get a free vaccine can be found here.

Face covering guidelines

Masks will be recommended for all students who aren’t vaccinated. Meanwhile, staff members who haven’t fulfilled the districts vaccine requirement will be required to wear a mask at all district settings and in the work place.

All students and staff will also be required to wear a face covering on school buses regardless of their vaccine status in accordance with the CDC’s order that requires masks on public transportation and at transportation hubs.

Screening measures

To begin each day, the district will screen students and staff for COVID-19 symptoms as an “additional mitigation layer.” Students with specific symptoms will be referred to a school health professional who will decide the next steps.

When necessary, the district will ask a parent or guardian to pick up a student based on their symptoms. District officials say they expect that to happen in a timely manner and say parents should make sure their emergency contact information is up to date on the district’s Parent Portal. In some cases, students and staff will be required to stay home until their symptoms have been resolved.

Isolation and quarantine guidelines

Any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate at home for 10 days before returning to their school or work setting.

“This allows APS to remove COVID-19 positive individuals from school and work settings to prevent transmission to others,” the district said.

Meanwhile, the district is easing their quarantine guidelines for students and staff who are exposed to people who have tested positive or are symptomatic. They will no longer require patrons to quarantine if they’re exposed to someone in that type of a situation. The district says nurses will work provide guidance to families if someone in a student’s home tests positive.

“APS will continue to follow Tri-County Health Department infectious disease guidelines and take additional health measures as directed by TCHD,” the district said.

The district has also put enhanced cleaning protocols into place and custodians have received updated training on those measures. They’ve also updated HVAC systems in each school as the district “continues to implement best practices to optimize ventilation.”

Parents can track how many positive cases have been identified through the district’s specific COVID-19 tracker which will be updated Monday through Friday.

The district says some measures may change based on “research, science, and health guidance.” For example, they may add a mask mandate at some point during the year.

“We are excited to welcome more of our students back to in-person learning this school year and we know we can do that safely with our layered approach,” the district said.

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