School District 49 Mandating COVID Single Case Reporting

A school district located about an hour and a half south of Denver is making headlines across the state. District 49 on the southeast side of Colorado Springs is balking at state guidelines, saying it won’t report COVID-19 cases or conduct contact tracing.

On Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis said that all school districts must report COVID-19 cases in their schools to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“We do require reporting of COVID. That is not an ambiguous area,” he said at a news conference.

For most of this week, District 49 disagreed, saying they “Will not facilitate voluntary reporting and contact tracing ” because reporting single cases was only encouraged. It is mandatory to report outbreaks, but they don’t consider multiple cases an “outbreak” because they say schools aren’t usually the source of transmission. They also say they will inform District staff and families if they are exposed to individuals with COVID.

One teacher who reached out to CBS4 anonymously on behalf of her and her coworkers, says that hasn’t been the case so far.

“A lot of the information that was sent out, honestly, from my end is complete lies,” she said. “I don’t know about families, but I know that staff has absolutely not been notified at all.”

D49 says ultimately, not a single child in the district died from COVID, and very few required hospitalizations and it is concerned the mental health risks from quarantines outweigh the physical risks of COVID.

Friday afternoon, the state changed its guidelines to reflect schools are also required to report single cases of COVID, even if testing was performed elsewhere.

The teacher says it’s a relief because there are a lot of students diagnosed with COVID-19 in her school and she is concerned the threat is being downplayed.

“To be told you know, you don’t necessarily matter, your health doesn’t matter… like, it’s hard. It’s really, really hard and I know several staff members who already started looking for new jobs.’

District 49 says they are reviewing the new state guidelines and will release a statement when they finish that review.

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