BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Kids between 2 and 11 years old will be required to wear masks inside schools as well as in licensed childcare facilities starting Monday, according to a new public health order from the city and county of Broomfield.
The new COVID-19 safety guidelines announced Friday afternoon come the same as the Cherry Creek School District announced they, too, would be requiring students in pre-K through 6th grade to wear masks indoors.
Broomfield Public Health officials said Friday there are currently 23,297 residents there who have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Of those, 9,501 are children up to 11 years of age, with 5,880 being elementary school-aged, ranging from 5 to 11 years old.
The new public health order states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified Broomfield as an area of high transmission after recording 124.4 cases per 100,000 people as of Thursday, Aug. 12. It also states the CDC’s latest guidance for COVID-19 prevention in school settings calls for universal recommendation of indoor masking in school settings for students, teachers, staff and visitors due to the highly transmissible delta variant.
“Prevention strategies and particularly universal masking have proven effective at slowing and stopping transmission in the child care and school settings,” the new public health order reads. “While 71.5% of Broomfield’s 12-15 year olds and 76.8 % of 16-19 year olds have initiated or completed vaccination, youth under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination and additional mitigation measures are necessary to prevent further spread in this age group.”
Masks are also recommended – but not required – for adults. In schools and licensed childcare facilities as well as for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in indoor public settings.
County health officials said Friday the new mandate is being put in place because kids 12 and under are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for this group is expected to come in early to midwinter, according to federal health officials.
Health department officials also said requiring masks in schools and licensed childcare facilities “will help limit quarantines and outbreaks that disrupt in-person learning.”
Additionally, mandatory indoor masking is supported by the medical community, the CDC and the Colorado chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, county health officials said.
“While the community had hoped the new school year would start without the requirement of masks, this is a necessary mitigation strategy to protect youth until they can be vaccinated,” reads the announcement from Broomfield Public Health. “If you are eligible to get a vaccine, please do your part and get vaccinated!”
Health officials said Friday that cases of the delta variant now account for 100% of all cases across the state.
The new public health order is effective until at least Dec. 31, 2021.
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