COVID IN COLORADO SCHOOLS: Denver teachers want remote learning despite revised COVID health guidelines

DENVER, Colo (KDVR) – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has shortened the amount of time that students and teachers must isolate after COVID-19.

The measure aligns Colorado schools with the guidance released by the CDC on Thursday.

Effective immediately, students and teachers with mild COVID-19 symptoms can stop isolating after five days if symptoms improve and are fever-free for 24 hours. They are still advised to wear a tight-fitting mask for an additional five days both at home and at school.

The guidance comes as COVID continues to have a significant impact on Colorado schools. On Friday, Adams County announced plans to go virtual from January 10-14.

“We had a significant amount of staff shortage that, in some places, led to the need to switch to remote learning because they just didn’t have enough adults in the building to serve students,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, Colorado Association of Education.

As of Friday, 26 Denver schools were operating with full or partial remote learning, with hundreds of teachers and students sick with COVID-19.

Nearly 150 Denver school staff members tested positive for COVID on Friday, and 349 students also tested positive for the virus.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association is now asking Superintendent Alex Marrero to distance himself for a full week, in a letter sent Thursday.

That letter says:

Enough is enough.

We cannot continually ask our educators to give more. We must recognize the reality our schools find themselves in and take ACTIONS to support our educators, those who support our most valuable resource, our students.

We call on DPS leaders to put safety first by: Moving the district to temporary remote learning for the remainder of this week and next to allow students and staff to isolate themselves, pass test log and give infected students and staff time to heal.

Emails sent to DPS on Saturday to see if this was being considered were not immediately returned.

“We are certainly monitoring that very closely and we can foresee that other districts will give the warning that there could be a move towards remote learning simply based on staff shortages,” says Baca-Oehlert.

She says it is important to prioritize in-person learning, but says there is concern among teachers about the possible spread of COVID-19 among those still recovering from the virus.

“We will really have to be adamant about wearing masks, distancing, ventilation, all those things that we know work to prioritize in-person learning,” he said.

In December, the CDC released similar guidelines for people from the general public, reducing those isolation times from 10 to five days.

  • The isolation recommendations align with recent CDC guidance for the general population:
    • All people with COVID-19 should stay home and isolate themselves from other people for at least five full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic people). People who have mild symptoms can end isolation after a full five days only if they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and if other symptoms have improved. They should wear a mask that fits well when around other people at home and in public for five more days. People who are unable to wear a mask around other people, including children under 2 years of age and people of any age with certain disabilities, should isolate themselves for a full 10 days, even if they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.
  • Students, teachers, and staff who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be quarantined for at least five days (day 0 to day 5) after exposure if they are in one of the following groups:
    • You are 18 years of age or older and have completed the recommended primary series of vaccines, but have not received a third recommended dose (booster) when eligible.
    • Those who have received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine (completing the primary series) more than two months ago and have not received a recommended booster dose.
    • Those who are not vaccinated or have not completed a series of primary vaccines.
    • People who are unable to wear a mask around other people, including children under the age of 2 and people of any age with certain disabilities, should self-quarantine for a full 10 days after exposure.
  • Students, teachers, and staff who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not need to be quarantined if:
    • They are 18 years of age or older and have received all recommended doses of vaccine, including third doses and additional primary injections for some immunosuppressed people.
    • You are between the ages of 5 and 17 and have completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
    • Had a confirmed positive COVID-19 viral test in the past 90 days.


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