D49 Updated Operating Protocols - Effective June 1
In compliance with new guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and our partners at El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH), D49 will accelerate our adjustment to the protocols we shared late last week. Effective immediately, Tuesday, June 1:
- Individuals may make a personal determination whether or not to wear a mask in all District 49 programs and facilities based on state and county guidance about vaccination/recovery status.
- Further, we have no expectation that individuals will report their private medical status or symptoms.
In addition, D49 will comply with the the following guidance updates from CDPHE and our local public health partners:
- Children 12 years old and younger are not required to wear masks. Mask wearing by students at our campuses shall not be the responsibility of, nor be enforced by, district personnel, including health professionals.
- Restrictions on indoor gatherings have been lifted.
For all contagious illnesses, we expect that healthy individuals will come to school or work, and individuals who are sick will stay home for at least 24 hours after symptoms subside. These protocols comply with current health requirements and executive orders. If conditions change or the state issues further directives, we will analyze and respond accordingly.
Please monitor our regular channels of communication for updates. We thank you for your enduring patience, understanding and trust.
Final D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update May 17, 2021
FINAL OVERVIEWKey measures of population health remain at elevated (negative) levels over the past six weeks. Since March, the case rate and test positivity metrics have degraded, but we now have three weeks of positive trends for case rates and test positivity. During the period beginning in mid-February, over half the D49 workforce have registered for COVID vaccination through our partner, UC Health, and nearly 100% of those are now through the second dose protocol. In addition, several hundred of our high school students have taken advantage of mobile vaccination opportunities or other community options to begin the vaccination sequence. Most have not received a second dose or had the additional two weeks to achieve “full” immunity, but we are on our way.In addition to the positive vaccination metrics, we also observe that over 66,000 residents have “natural immunity*” via recovery from infection, nearly 280,000 residents are proceeding through inoculation toward vaccine-based immunity—and over 230,000 of those have completed the full vaccination series. Every recovered or vaccinated individual reduces the potential pool of future cases, and improves overall community conditions.*Natural immunity may only last 90 days, but medical experts continue studying and measuring immune responses to the standard variant as well as emerging variants of COVID-19.In addition to the overall COVID-19 dashboard, El Paso County has developed a vaccination dashboard with details about the numbers of doses and series, as well as other information about vaccination plans. You can review that information at the county website:HEALTH DATACounty health data has been stable with moderate improvement, despite elevated levels and adverse trends from March through mid-April. The last three weeks have shown mild improvements.
elpasocountyhealth.org/ covid19data-dashboardOn the three key population health measures, this is the status as of Monday, May 17, 2021:Summary Chart:Key Measure #1: 7-Day Incidence per 100,000 *Lower is better
Rating: CONCERN Level with Stable Trend
The 7-Day Case Rate stands at 156, which is elevated compared to our baseline (123) from February 8. This metric is near the middle of the previous “concern" range (Between 100 and 300). Guidance from county and other public health officials is to continue monitoring for any evidence of conditions that may degrade conditions.Key Measure #2: Daily PCR Test Positivity (7-Day Average) *Lower is better
Rating: CONCERN Level with Stable Trend
The test positivity rate under the new 7-day average is 5.06%, barely above the target level of 5.0%. We want that number lower, so declining numbers are great news. The average turnaround time for testing is stable but significant at 4.27 days. Due to logistics realities for collection, transfer to lab, and lab processes, any average turnaround under two days is near optimal.Key Measure #3: Community Health Agency Burden
Rating: Good, but Elevated Level with Stable Trend
This measure is a composite of hospitalization and death rates, which reveal the intensity of infectious spread and resulting illness. Note that hospitalizations are a lagging indicator following case rates and test positivity by approximately 10-14 days.ISTRICT INCIDENT DATADue to continued adherence to our safety system, contact tracing, and exclusion from quarantine based on vaccination status, over 99% of our students are attending school without disruption. We are concerned that recent quarantines and outbreaks are disrupting more students, but as of today, all schools and programs are open and serving in-person learning.Other district incident data is available on our dashboard.
D49 Discontinues Mask Enforcement at Elementary Campuses
Friday, May 14
Dear D49 Families,
The D49 Board of Education passed a resolution at their regular meeting May 13 directing all staff members to discontinue enforcement of mask requirements for elementary students on elementary campuses. This guidance will be effective Monday morning, May 17.
The resolution also directs staff to discontinue enforcement of mask requirements for all individuals at D49 campuses and work locations beginning June 2.
The office of Governor Jared Polis announced on Friday that Colorado will issue a new public health order to conform to newly released CDC guidance. While easing many restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals, Colorado guidelines require masks for individuals older than 10 in schools, daycare facilities and other businesses. This means that District 49 will continue to require masks for adults and for middle and high school students until state guidance changes. We will also require students riding with district transportation services to continue wearing masks through the end of the year.
Our board’s decision followed energetic public comment and significant debate during the Thursday meeting, resulting in a 3-2 vote in favor of the resolution. In summary, the resolution directs the following:
- Effective immediately, mask wearing by elementary grade students at our campuses shall not be the responsibility of, nor be enforced by, district personnel, including health professionals.
- No later than 2 June, mask wearing by students and staff at our campuses and work locations shall not be the responsibility of, nor be enforced by, district personnel, including health professionals.
What does this mean for elementary school families? - We trust our families will make the decision that’s best for them and their students as we maintain normal operations for the remainder of the year. If that means sending students to school in a mask, we respect that. If that means sending them without, we will honor that as well.
What does this mean for secondary school families? - Neither the board resolution nor the adjusted public health order change the requirements for middle and high school families.
When we reopened to full in-person learning after spring break, our objective was to remain open. We’ve managed that with our safety system of masking, frequent hand-washing, distancing, and deep cleaning while applying precautionary quarantines when needed in cases of exposure. Relaxing the mask requirement will increase the size of close contact groups among our elementary school populations. As a result, we may experience an increase in precautionary quarantines before the end of the year.
Nevertheless, we will continue to push hard, and walk forward together as we finish the most difficult year in D49 history. We thank you for your continued support, trust and dedication.
D49 COVID-19 Tracking Dashboard
As the COVID-19 crisis has progressed, our ability to predict and respond to rising infection rates has improved. As a result, we are continuing to track the impact of positive cases on our students and staff as we conduct contact tracing, precautionary quarantines, and other protective measures.
D49 COVID Tracking Dashboard LINK
Please keep students home if they don’t feel well
Dear D49 Families,
We want to share a friendly reminder that sending learners to school requires at-home health screening every day.
Along with the excitement of reuniting and getting to know each other in our return to in-person learning, we are already experiencing the challenges of illness in our classrooms. As we are seeing, even minor symptoms can have significant ripple effects to our return to in-person learning. Guidance from our partners at El Paso County Public Health supports our nursing staff as they assess children showing COVID-like symptoms at school, and also informs their appropriate response, which in some cases requires sending home cohorts of learners and school staff.
Parents can help! Please keep students home if they don’t feel well, or are experiencing symptoms in the following checklists:
Symptoms Observed or Reported:
1 or more MAJOR SYMPTOMS
- Feeling feverish, having chills or temp of 100.4F or greater
- New or unexplained persistent cough
- New or unexplained shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Loss of sense of taste or smell
2 or more MINOR SYMPTOMS
- Sore throat
- Runny nose or congestion
- Muscle or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting
EMERGENCY COVID-19 WARNING SIGNS include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face. Seek medical attention immediately by calling 911.
Students should stay home if they are experiencing:
1 or more major symptoms and/or 2 or more minor symptoms indicated on the table above.
This, and more useful information may be found on the D49 Nursing Services webpage. We encourage all of our families to become familiar with this process. Paired with our system of safety protocols, following these steps will give D49 our best chance at making this school year the safe and memorable one we know it can be.
Thank you for your time, understanding, and enduring trust.
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update May 17, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update May 10, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update May 3, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update April 13, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update April 4, 2021
DISTRICT 49 CEO UPDATE: APRIL 2, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update March 29, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update March 22, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update March 8, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update March 1, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update Feb. 22, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update Feb. 16, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update Feb. 8, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update Feb. 1, 2021
D49 El Paso County COVID Data Update Jan. 25, 2021
Return To Learn
We are pleased to announce that District 49 will return from Spring Break on March 29 with a full-schedule, full-population model for all grades to complete the school year.