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Academy District 20 releases mask guidelines for students

Colorado Springs' largest school district explains whats okay and what's not okay for masks when students return to the classroom.
Academy District 20
Academy District 20(Station)
Published: Aug. 16, 2020 at 10:10 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Springs’ largest school district is expecting some elementary school students to return to the classroom on Aug. 24. When the kids go back, they will have to wear masks no matter their age.

Last month, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a statewide mandatory mask mandate requiring people 11 years old and older to wear masks in public indoor spaces. The mandate was renewed last week. District 20 is taking that a step further and asking all students and staff to wear masks while they’re in school buildings.

The district tells us they received several questions from families asking what masks kids could wear.

“Anything that covers your nose and is tightly against your chin,” says Allison Cortez, the chief communications officer at District 20. “We don’t want to see students wearing things that are all loosey-goosey down here, that flap around or that have holes or that are mesh or that have fraying, because really we want that mask to hold in the droplets.”

Cortez tells 11 News students will have to mask up when they enter the building and if they’re walking around the building. While students will have to wear masks a lot of the time during their school day, Cortez says there will be times when the kids can take the masks off.

“When students are in the classroom, we know that there’s going to be an opportunity for them to take that facial covering or mask off, and what we need to make sure when that happens is that the other safety measures and layers are in place.”

Those other safety measures include plexiglass dividers, remaining at a 6-foot distance, and face shields.

If a student forgets a mask the district will provide them with one, but they say if it becomes a recurring problem there could be consequences.

“If that becomes a regular action where they’re just refusing to wear a facial covering or a mask, then we’re going to talk to those parents, and it could look like they could even get transferred into an online option if they refuse to come to school without a facial covering.”

D-20 will also equip their staff and teachers with masks. The district has already sent out cloth face masks to all of its employees. They’ll also receive KN95 masks from the State Emergency Operations Center. They’ll have enough for each teacher to have one mask per week for 10 weeks. Cortez says the district has already received a shipment from the state.

The district says they understand wearing masks isn’t the easiest thing to do especially with younger students, so they’re working to make this transition as easy as possible.

Click here for the full guidance on masks from D-20.

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