CDPHE releases new COVID guidance for school staff and students
As omicron cases continue to spike across the state, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has shortened their recommended isolation time for students and school staff who test positive for COVID-19. The department recommends that staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 isolate for five days, drawn down from a previous 10-day recommendation. This guidance is also the same for those who come in close contact with an individual testing positive for COVID-19.
This news, released Jan. 7, comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released similar guidance for the general public. While schools are not required to follow this updated recommendation, many have shifted to the shorter isolation period.
Education leaders are hopeful that this new recommendation will help ease the staffing burdens districts are facing in the second half of the school year, as an increasing number of staff and students test positive. Shorter absences for students could also result in less missed learning, a topic of concern that has emerged in the ongoing pandemic as students shift between learning modalities and deal with the social-emotional impacts of the public health crisis, among other concerns. However, some schools are wary that the new guidance will result in staff and students returning to classrooms sooner than they should, increasing the spread of COVID-19 in learning settings.
At the same time, we recognize that our K-12 educators and support staff are already under immense pressure – and have been for the entirety of the pandemic thus far. With the prevalence of the omicron variant, combined with the continuation of in-person teaching among changing COVID-19 safety guidelines, it remains necessary that we advocate for the mental health and wellbeing of our educators. If you are or know a Colorado educator, we highly encourage you to share the Colorado Educator Support program with them. Free of charge, this program offers Colorado’s educator workforce with workshops that focus on mental health management, well-being support lines and online programs, one-on-one counseling, and more.
Increasing vaccination plays a significant role in combating both the spread of COVID-19 and the risk of contracting it with potentially dangerous complications. Vaccination also helps prevent the development of new and more dangerous COVID-19 variants that could continue to impact us all. There are a variety of ways to seek out a COVID-19 vaccination appointment for both you and your children. Resources to help you find a COVID-19 vaccine for your child are listed below:
- Pediatric clinics across the state are now offering the vaccine to children ages 5 and older. Find upcoming clinics for kids here.
- Some retail pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens, are now taking pediatric vaccination appointments. Find a pharmacy appointment near you here.
- Since Nov. 6, all mobile vaccination clinics offer vaccines for children 5-11. Find an appointment at a mobile vaccination clinic near you here.
- Dozens of county providers now take appointments for children 5-11. Find the updated list of providers and their contact information for scheduling here.