JCPH nixes masking requirement for 2-year-olds

Change made in response to concerns raised by preschool operators

Staff Report
Posted 9/2/21

Two weeks after issuing an order requiring students and staff to wear masks in all Jefferson County school and childcare settings to wear masks, JCPH Executive Director Dawn Comstock announced she …

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JCPH nixes masking requirement for 2-year-olds

Change made in response to concerns raised by preschool operators

Posted

Two weeks after issuing an order requiring students and staff to wear masks in all Jefferson County school and childcare settings to wear masks, JCPH Executive Director Dawn Comstock announced she was amending the order in response to public feedback.

The revised order, which was issued on Aug. 30, states that anyone age 3 and over who enters a school is required to wear a mask. Previously, masking had been required in schools and Childcare centers for everyone 2 and over.

Comstock said she decided to make that change after JCPH hosted a town hall with more than 60 childcare owners and operators in the county. During the town hall, JCPH received feedback on JCPH's Public Health Order.

Two of the most common challenges with implementing the order were masking among 2-year-olds and maintaining six feet of social distance when children were unmasked during meal times, which the previous order also required.

“While JCPH's original order follows guidance from CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Colorado regarding appropriate ages for use of face coverings, we listened to those in our community who work with young children every day and have modified the age for required masking from age 2 and older to age 3 and older,” Comstock said in a JCPH press release announcing the change.

The requirement that six feet of social distancing be maintained during meal and snack times and while playing instruments has also been removed. It has been replaced with language stating that JCPH “strongly recommends” three feet of social distancing during these unmasked activities.

“JCPH acknowledges that not all school and childcare settings have sufficient space to ensure that children can be spaced at least six feet apart while unmasked during meal or snack times or while playing instruments,” reads the new amended order. “JCPH therefore recognizes the need to balance the implementation of numerous viral mitigation strategies with the practical constraints of school and childcare settings.”

In the release announcing the amended order, Comstock thanked Jeffco schools and childcare facilities from taking the steps necessary to protect students from COVID-19.

“We want to be as responsive as possible to your feedback as we understand the need to balance the implementation of numerous viral mitigation strategies with practical challenges and constraints of school and childcare settings,” she said. “We admire the work you do and will continue to work toward our common goal of keeping kids healthy and safe.”

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