Colorado releases COVID-19 school guidance for 2022-2023 school year

CCSD updates its COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming school year
CCSD updates its COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming school year(File (FOX5))
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 10:34 AM MDT
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STATEWIDE, Colo. (KKCO) - The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has announced the Practical Guide for Operationalizing CDC’s School Guidance for the 2022-2023 school year and has shared that they will continue to provide free COVID-19 testing for schools.

The CDPHE decided to switch from a individual case-investigation response to a routine disease control model for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools.

The routine disease control model focuses on responding to clusters of cases, outbreaks, and evidence of ongoing transmission of in schools, rather than focusing on individual contact investigation, contact tracing, and quarantine following routine classroom exposures.

“We continue to prioritize and support uninterrupted learning in all communities, and we have worked closely with local public health directors, school superintendents, school boards, teachers, and the broader school community to ensure this guidance meets the needs of schools statewide,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist. “Earlier this year, we shifted our response in schools away from case-based responses to a transmission mitigation strategy. This guidance, in conjunction with free testing, will provide schools the tools they need to mitigate COVID-19 disruptions and keep Colorado kids healthy.”

Schools are asked to implement strategies that support healthy, uninterrupted school and child care, including encouraging equitable access to vaccination and testing, improving indoor ventilation and prioritizing outdoor activities, reminding students and staff to stay home when sick, and isolating if positive for COVID-19.

At this time, quarantine in K-12 settings is no longer required unless it is part of a mitigation strategy put in place at the discretion of the school, district, or local public health agency where cases are increasing, outbreaks are detected, or community levels are escalating.

Students, staff, and volunteers should isolate if they test positive. Schools and childcare facilities should still inform students, staff, and parents when cases, outbreaks, or exposures happen so all individuals can remain safe.

CDPHE will continue to provide all K-12 schools (public, private, charter, and tribal) with a free and voluntary statewide COVID-19 screening testing program for the 2022-2023 school year. School districts and schools can enroll in the screening program here. Once CDPHE has received all enrollment materials, testing can begin within two weeks. The program is scheduled to begin the week of August 22, 2022.

CDPHE is also including a free, voluntary, and statewide COVID Test to Know program for the 2022-2023 school year. This will allow schools to provide and administer point-of-care rapid antigen tests in school and also provide over-the-counter rapid antigen test kits to students, staff, and volunteers to use outside of the school.

More information on the COVID-19 school testing program and additional options for schools can be found here.

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