The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) has updated its policies regarding COVID-19 prevention efforts across state schools, including its isolation and quarantine protocols.

CDPHE's updated Practical Guide for Operationalizing CDC’s School Guidance includes the following protocols and procedures:

For the general population - 

  • Everyone with COVID-19 should stay home and isolate away from other people for at least five full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic people)
  • Those who have mild symptoms can end isolation after five full days - only if they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and if other symptoms have improved; they should, however, wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home and in public for an additional five days
  • Those who are unable to wear a mask around others, including children under the age of 2 years and people of any age with certain disabilities, should isolate for a full 10 days even if they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms

In school settings -

  • Students, teachers, and staff who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for at least five days (day 0 through day 5) after exposure if they are in one of the following groups:
    • Ages 18 or older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccines, but have not received a recommended third (booster) dose when eligible
    • Those who have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over two months ago and have not received a recommended booster dose
    • Those who are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series
  • Those who are unable to wear a mask around others, including children under the age of 2 years and people of any age with certain disabilities, should quarantine for a full 10 days after exposure.
  • Students, teachers, and staff who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if they:
    • Are ages 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including third doses and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people
    • Are ages 5-17 years and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines
    • Had a confirmed positive COVID-19 viral test within the last 90 days

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment updated its policies to align with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) new recommendations for COVID-19 prevention in school settings.

As per CDPHE, these newly updated guidelines provide the best practices and guidance for schools to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help minimize the disruption caused by the transmission of COVID-19; these policies are primarily intended to keep students and educators as safe as possible while maintaining in-person learning that is critical for students.

“We are going to watch this very closely. Of course, we want to do everything possible to ensure consistent, in-person learning, we know in-person learning is the best place for our students and educators, but we also know that those safety mitigation strategies have to be in place, have to be followed with fidelity,” Colorado Education Association President Amie Baca-Oehlert said, according to KDVR.

The changes are in effect for students and staff returning to school Monday morning (Jan. 10).

CDPHE continues to let the public know that getting your vaccine remains the best protection against COVID-19. Parents and guardians of children ages 5 and up are encouraged to make a vaccine appointment as soon as possible. There are currently more than 1,800 vaccine providers throughout the state - and all community vaccination sites provide vaccinations for those over the age of 5, according to CDPHE.

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