Denver to Lift Public Health Order Requiring Face Coverings in Schools
Published on February 09, 2022
Masks no longer required in schools and childcare facilities after Feb. 25
Following a significant drop in COVID-19 cases in Denver and the metro area, the City and County of Denver announced today it is lifting the public health order requiring face coverings in schools and childcare facilities at 11:59 p.m. Feb. 25.
COVID-19 cases among children and adults are rapidly decreasing and vaccination rates in Denver are high. Nearly 80% of people ages 5 and older in Denver are vaccinated, and over 40% have received their booster shot. Denver’s indoor face covering order expired last week.
“I want to thank all the students, teachers and staff who have done the right thing to protect themselves and one another from COVID-19 by following public health orders and getting vaccinated,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Based on the current data, and the efforts of our residents, this is a step we can take at this time. We are supportive of any additional measures our schools put in place, as needed, to continue in-person learning.”
Face coverings are still strongly recommended for those who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised. For those who are fully vaccinated and boosted, face coverings can provide an added layer of protection, particularly in crowded indoor spaces.
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children ages 5 and older and parents are encouraged to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19. Boosters are also available and strongly recommended for children ages 12 and older, five months after their second vaccination. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently analyzing data and determining the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children between 6 months and 5 years old.
“With the current decline in severe cases and the high rates of immunity that we’re seeing, it is safe to lift the school mask mandate at this time,” said Dr. Sterling McLaren, Denver’s chief medical officer. “The best way to protect children is to make sure they stay up to date with their vaccinations and ensure that the adults around them are vaccinated as well.”
The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) is continuing to work with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment on outbreak, quarantine and isolation guidance for schools. More information is expected in the next week.
“At this time, we believe lifting the face covering mandate is the right thing for students,” said Bob McDonald, DDPHE executive director. “DDPHE will continue to closely monitor the situation in schools and childcare facilities and act accordingly if any changes with COVID-19 take place.”
Per federal guidance, face coverings continue to be required on public transportation, including public transit networks, airplanes, buses, trains, taxis, Ubers and Lyfts. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) requires face coverings for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated staff, residents, and visitors in jails, homeless shelters, and emergency medical and other healthcare settings.
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-home COVID-19 tests through the Department of Health & Human Service’s website. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. Those who require assistance with ordering tests should call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).