New COVID-19 guidance released for parents and teachers in Colorado as students head back to school

Photo courtesy: MGN
Photo courtesy: MGN(MGN)
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 5:11 PM MDT
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DENVER (KKTV) - As families and teachers gear up for one of the most extraordinary school years in memory, the state health department is issuing additional guidance to help schools navigate this uncharted territory.

Never in a century did students attend class in the middle of a global pandemic -- until now.

The case and outbreak guidance released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) includes advice for parents and school staff in determine whether a child should physically attend class, a screening tool to determine whether a student or staff member is ill enough to go home, and how long a sick student and/or staff member should remain home. The department says it received input over the last week from school districts, public health agencies, school nurses, and teachers unions, among others.

“More than 70 representatives were involved in this process,” CDPHE said in a release sent to 11 News Wednesday.

The guidance also includes information for pre-K and child care settings.

Click here for the complete guidance document. Information includes:

-A home checklist for parents and school staff. This will help parents and staff determine if they or their child should go to school.

-A screening tool to determine who needs to be sent home from school if they get sick. This will provide direction for teachers and staff who encounter a student or other teacher/staff member who appears sick at school.

-A tool to determine how long a person needs to stay home after staying or going home sick. This will provide information about when a person with COVID-19 symptoms can return to school depending on the level of transmission in the school’s community.

-A tool to determine if classmates or cohort members or close contacts of a sick person need to stay home. This will help schools determine when cohorts or classes must quarantine due to likely exposure to COVID-19.

Other directives released in recent weeks by the Colorado Department of Education in conjunction with CDPHE and the governor’s office includes school opening guidance and a toolkit for the 2020-21 school year. Local public health agencies have also released their own guidance based on their community’s specific needs.

CDPHE says it will update guidance as additional data and information becomes available.

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