COVID-19 HHRC Update: Schools & Mask Wearing
August 21, 2020 8:00 pm
Information shared from Grand Country Public Health https://www.co.grand.co.us/COVID19
On August 20, 2020, Grand County Public Health (GCPH) issued a Public Health Order (PHO) related to COVID-19 Protective Measures in Public and Private Schools in Grand County. The Order has four primary directives:
- Face masks or coverings that cover both the nose and mouth and that occlude air flow are required to be worn by all children in grades pre-K through 12 and anyone else over the age of 2 who is in the confines of a Grand County pre-K-12 school setting, with some exceptions. Individuals on school buses to and from school functions must also wear face coverings.
- Suspected positive cases and outbreaks will be mitigated using Grand County Public Health’s COVID-19 School Flowcharts and Protocols based on CDPHE’s case and outbreak guidance.
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) and Colorado Department of Education (CDE) August 2020 guidance for in-person learning at pre-K-12 schools should be followed.
- Generally applicable Best Practice Protective Measures are to be followed by all citizens, businesses, and visitors while in Grand County.
In creating this guidance, Grand County Public Health had to compromise on certain “Generally-applicable Best Protective Measures” to make the most out of a very difficult situation. GCPH stresses that social distancing of at least 6-feet between non-household members is the best scientific practice. Due to the difficulty of achieving such distance in school classrooms and settings, GCPH reinforces that students should maintain as much physical distance as possible between one another and compensate for the lack of proper social distancing by mandating use of face coverings in school settings (with some exceptions). This extenuating compromise by GCPH is not recommended for other businesses or sectors and should not become the norm in the county.
In-person learning will naturally decrease the social distancing rating of our community as a whole. Outbreaks in our community and schools could lead to interruptions in our workforce and have economic consequences to our community as a whole. For that reason, the community as a whole needs to compensate with extra precautions to keep COVID-19 disease in our community controlled. Examples of compensation and extra precaution would include, but are not limited to actions like avoiding social gatherings, keeping event attendee numbers low, and strict mask wearing.
Just a reminder that per Governor Polis’ Executive Order D 2020 164, all individuals above the age of 10-years old* must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when entering or moving within any Public Indoor Space, or while using or waiting to use the services of any taxi, bus, light rail, train, car service, ride-sharing or similar service, or Mass Transportation Operations.
Public Indoor Space, as defined in the executive order, means any enclosed indoor area that is publicly or privately owned, managed, or operated to which individuals have access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, and that is accessible to the public, serves as a place of employment, or is an entity providing services. Public Indoor Space does not mean a person’s residence, including a room in a motel or hotel or a residential room for students at an educational facility. This includes work spaces shared by people from more than one household.
Under Executive Order D 2020 110, mask wearing is mandatory for employees, contractors, and others providing services for Mass Transportation Operations and Critical Businesses as well as for State and county employees and the individuals they serve at Government Offices and Facilities.
We have learned that widespread mask use is a low cost and highly effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections by as much as 65%. Broad adoption of mask wearing in Colorado may have significant economic benefits by allowing the State to prevent re-closures of businesses and schools and, ultimately, return to our normal lives more quickly.
*On August 20, 2020, Grand County Public Health (GCPH) issued a Public Health Order (PHO) related to COVID-19 Protective Measures in Public and Private Schools in Grand County. The PHO directed that face masks or coverings that cover both the nose and mouth and that occlude air flow are required to be worn by all children in grades pre-K through 12 and anyone else over the age of 2 who is in the confines of a Grand County pre-K-12 school setting, with some exceptions. Individuals on school buses to and from school functions must also wear face coverings. GCPH is more strict regarding school children to compensate for the lack of social distancing.