August 28, 2020
An Open Letter to Our Communities: Call for Shared Community Responsibility in Supporting the Re-opening of our Schools
Recent decisions by school administrators to re-open many of our schools were based on the best information we have to date about the spread of COVID-19 and public health guidance. They were also based on input from parents and teachers, data that show case numbers and hospitalizations going down in recent weeks, and, of course, the desire of our kids to be in school with their friends and teachers.
Given all of these considerations, media reports--both nationally and locally--about student gatherings that have not practiced precautions that can reduce transmission of COVID-19 are concerning. A number of large universities around the country have quickly resorted to all-remote learning formats due to outbreaks following these gatherings, and as the public health agency serving Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties, we would be very disappointed if that happened here in Colorado. Schools are a critical component of communities and have tremendous impact on the health, well-being, growth, and development of students and families. Education is a fundamental determinant of health and cultivates life skills, knowledge and reasoning, social-emotional awareness and control, and community engagement, which serve people over the course of a lifetime.
Getting our schools open is an encouraging sign that we are making progress in preventing the spread of COVID-19, but it’s way too early to celebrate. In order to maintain progress and help keep our schools open, every one of us--every parent, every teacher, every student and every community member--has a responsibility to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What does this responsibility include?
- Limit the number of people you interact with on a daily basis as much as possible.
- Avoid large gatherings, especially those taking place indoors.
- Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from anyone not in your household.
- Wear your mask if you can’t practice social distancing.
- Wash your hands often.
- When you are sick, get tested for COVID-19 and isolate yourself from others, including other household members.
- If you do test positive, please cooperate with the public health workers who will be contacting you to prevent further spread.
- Get your annual flu vaccine: it won’t prevent COVID-19, but it will reduce the overall amount of sickness in our communities.
Opening our schools does not mean that the virus is no longer a threat. As restrictions relax, the need for personal responsibility increases. Please do your part to help keep our communities safe and our schools open.