DENVER — The safe reopening of schools is a critical step in promoting children’s health and well-being, and metro Denver’s school leaders have new guidance for how to safely approach this challenge. The Metro Denver Partnership for Health (MDPH) today released COVID-19 Strategies for Schools, an evidence-informed guide for the region’s school districts as they plan to reopen.
“Opening our schools in the fall is one of the most important components of reopening the metro area,” said Bill Burman, MD, Executive Director of Denver Public Health and co-chair of MDPH. “Schools support the social, emotional, and intellectual growth of children, and they allow parents to get back to work.”
The guidance offers evidence-informed strategies that will allow schools to reopen as safely as possible. The COVID-19 suppression fundamentals of mask wearing, physical distancing, good hygiene, and limited-sized gatherings all play a role in the guidance. However, schools present specific challenges to these fundamentals, from young children learning to read by seeing educators’ faces to the impracticality of optimal physical distancing in some facilities. The report offers ideas to mitigate these realities.
“We believe that despite these challenges, schools can implement a set of measures that can provide a safe environment for students and staff,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department and co-chair of MDPH. “The guidance and measures provided in the report are known to control infection and support prevention.” Douglas noted that adjustments to plans may occur over time as more is learned about the virus and its spread throughout the state.
MDPH is led by six public health agencies serving the seven-county Denver metro area: Boulder County Public Health, Broomfield Public Health Department, Denver Department of Public Health & Environment, Denver Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health, and Tri-County Health Department, serving Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties. MDPH’s work impacts nearly 3 million Coloradans — 60% of the state’s population — who live in this region. MDPH is supported and staffed by the Colorado Health Institute (CHI). The report can be found on CHI’s website at https://colo.health/MDPH.
Contact for public health departments:
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