Guidance issued for schools opening in the fall

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DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Education issued guidance for the safe reopening of schools this fall.

Heading back to school, they suggest that face coverings be required for all staff and students over age 11, unless there is a medical condition.

Officials say schools should be divided into cohorts, or groups, to minimize contacts. CDPHE is still working out what to do when someone at school tests positive for COVID-19.

“We are working on a comprehensive kind of algorithm that helps us determine when a school would either have to close a cohort, or close completely, and that is stilI in a stakeholder process,” Therese Pilonetti at CDPHE said. She says the hope would be to contain the disruption to a cohort.

State officials suggest six-foot physical distancing if possible, maximizing ventilation and decreasing congestion in hallways.

They ask schools to use separate entrances and stagger arrival times, stagger times when kids are eating and recess times. The suggest frequent cleanings throughout the day.

Leaders say the recommendations will work best if they are layered, and say this is not a one size fits all plan. This guidance is meant to aid in local decision making.

“We know that different districts across the state are facing different levels of COVID, and so the decisions might look quite different across our state, but this guidance is meant to provide best practice and recommendations,” said Katy Anthes with CDE.

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