Denver Sets End Date For Child Masking Mandate

Starting February 28, 2022, Denver Public Schools, after a surprising policy change, will no longer require child mask mandates to be part of their curriculum. In an email sent out to Denver Public School district parents, they stated as such, but they also strongly encouraged parents to keep their children masked.

By Rick Gonzales | Published

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Starting February 28, 2022, Denver Public Schools, after a surprising policy change, will no longer require child mask mandates to be part of their curriculum. In an email sent out to Denver Public School district parents, they stated as such, but they also strongly encouraged parents to keep their children masked. The email quoted the director of pediatrics for Denver Health, Dr. Steven Federico, to stress their point. He said: “Coming out of omicron, we’re now at a different phase of the pandemic. The focus moving forward needs to be on vaccination — including boosters for teens and adults, as well staying home and getting tested when we’re sick. The lifting of this mandate does not mean that individuals should not or cannot mask.”

The email was put together by Denver Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero. In the email, Dr. Marrero explained how, throughout the COVID pandemic, the Denver Public Schools worked with local and state health partners to get their guidance as it pertained to child mask policies. As then, their COVID plan and procedures continue to be guided by state and local medical and public healthcare expertise.

Marrero also wanted to thank the entire Denver Public School community for keeping things together during the pandemic with their following of the guidelines that had been set forth during the tough time. Marrero also stressed the importance of vaccines and boosters saying, “If you or your family members have not yet been vaccinated or boosted, please do so as soon as possible, as it remains the best way to protect our children, families, and neighbors.” His entire email can be seen below.

Falling COVID case rates and Denver’s high vaccination rates played a large part in the decision to drop the child mask mandate. It is estimated that close to 80% of Denver citizens aged 5 and up have been vaccinated. Denver Public Schools has mandated that all of its employees need to be vaccinated to maintain their employment with the district.

“At this time, we believe lifting the face-covering mandate is the right thing for students,” said Bob McDonald, executive director of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, in a press release via Chalkbeat. “DDPHE will continue to closely monitor the situation in schools and childcare facilities and act accordingly if any changes with COVID-19 take place.”

It has been nearly a year since Colorado enforced a mask mandate, not only for children but for everyone in the state. Even though the state had dropped the child mask mandate, school boards were allowed to enforce their own ruling, especially once the omicron variant took hold.

The Denver Public School District is just one in a slew of districts across the state that have altered or dropped their child mask mandate altogether. This past December, the Douglas County School District said bye to it after new school board members were introduced. This caused the Pikes Peak school region to move from mandating child masks to making mask-wearing optional.

Arapahoe and Adams counties dropped their child mask mandate earlier this month after Tri-County Health said the numbers would allow them to do so. The remaining school districts in those counties went to masks optional. Jefferson County was the next area to decide that their child mask policy would no longer be required.

Right now the only county in the area that continues to make children wear masks to school is Boulder County. Although parents are advocating for the lower of the child mask policy, Boulder County has not given any indication that they will change policy in the near future. Perhaps what they are seeing across Denver will change their mind. They may shed some light on the subject during the next school board meeting which is scheduled for February 22, 2022.

Your child can breathe again because the mask is coming down. How long this will last is anyone’s guess, but for now, many consider this a step in the right direction.