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New guidance released to help schools respond to COVID-19 cases and outbreaks
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By Source: Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment/Colorado State Emergency Operations Center

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released updated guidance for detecting, reporting, and responding to cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools and child care settings.

Over the past week, the department undertook substantial stakeholder engagement activities to gather input on how to make the guidance as helpful as possible for the start of the school year. Stakeholders that provided input included school districts, school nurses, teachers union representatives, local public health agencies, and counties. More than 70 representatives were involved in this process.

The new guidance includes information for child care and pre-K settings. It also includes tools that can help parents, students, teachers, staff, and schools determine who needs to stay home from school. This 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.

This case and outbreak guidance, in addition to the school opening guidance, CDE’s toolkit for the 2020-21 school year, and guidance from local public health agencies will provide districts with the information they need to start the school year in a way that makes sense for their local communities. CDPHE will update guidance as additional data and information becomes available.

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