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DENVER (KDVR) — In new COVID-19 guidance, Colorado is urging local mask mandates for every person in K-12 schools statewide.

Health officials are recommending that public health departments and school districts require masks at school, regardless of vaccination status or the level of COVID-19 transmission in the community.

School mask mandates urged

“This is especially important in settings where vaccination rates are low and where many students are not yet eligible for vaccination,” Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment wrote in a press release.

The recommendation applies to every person who sets foot in a K-12 school, including students, teachers staff and visitors.

Even as the CDPHE issued the new guidance, Gov. Jared Polis said Friday that he will not issue a statewide mask mandate at this point.

Ventilation improvements encouraged

The new CDPHE guidance also recommends that schools improve ventilation in their facilities through measures like upgrading HVAC systems and adding HEPA filters to existing systems.

Schools without HVAC systems are being told to open windows to increase airflow. They also say students should spend more time outdoors if they can.

Quarantine rules impacted

The new guidance also impacts quarantine rules.

“If at least 80% of individuals age 12 and older within a school community have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, no one, including unvaccinated individuals, needs to quarantine following a typical classroom exposure to a case,” the CDPHE wrote.

“In areas with low vaccination rates and high case rates, schools must work with their local public health agency to determine quarantine requirements when cases of COVID-19 are identified,” CDPHE added.