AURORA | The Cherry Creek School District announced Wednesday in a letter to families it will not require masks for the upcoming school year, though all students and staff are “strongly encouraged” to wear one at school.
“The decision on whether to have your child wear a mask in school will be up to each family,” the message from Superintendent Chris Smith said. “We will work with families to accommodate their students’ needs and comfort levels so that every student has an enjoyable and safe learning environment.”
The message noted that mask wearing “played a key role” in keeping transmission of the virus low during the last school year. Masks are mandatory for everyone on school buses, as per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Along with neighboring Aurora Public Schools, the district is taking its health guidance from the Tri-County Health Department. The message linked to a letter that Tri-County director Dr. John Douglas sent to local superintendents.
“In alignment with CDC’s updated guidance, Tri-County Health Department is now recommending that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor public places, including teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools,” the letter said.
However, the letter says that this is not a requirement but “a strong science-based recommendation.”
APS is requiring staff who are not vaccinated to wear masks, others do not need to wear them. Student athletes will be required to show proof of vaccination or get tested every two weeks while participating in a sport. Denver Public Schools announced that it is requiring all students and employees to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
Cherry Creek’s message encouraged families to get their children who are 12 and older vaccinated, and did not make any mention of vaccines for staff. The district previously told the Sentinel that it would not be implementing a vaccine requirement for employees, unlike Aurora Public Schools, which will be requiring the vaccine once it is given full FDA approval.
Tri-County Health Department will be responsible for contact tracing positive COVID-19 cases in the district, the message said.
Students and staff who experience COVID symptoms or test positive must stay home from school. Those who test positive must follow county health guidelines and can return to school at the end of their isolation period, the message said. Students who develop potential COVID symptoms during the school day will be referred to the nurse’s office.
The message does not mention any differing quarantine guidelines for the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
School begins for district students the week of August 16.