Teachers React To COVID Outbreaks Across Colorado Just Days After Classes Begin

Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s most recent list of COVID-19 outbreaks released Wednesday, Aug. 25, shows Douglas and Mesa counties each have four schools with outbreaks. Adams and Jefferson counties each have one.

Teachers in Douglas County are saying in light of this information, they want to stay in their classrooms and hope their students and parents will do what it takes to have a normal school year.

“Schools being open and in-person is the best place for students to be,” says Douglas County Federation President Kevin DiPasquale.

The union represents the district’s teachers. While they say they are excited to be back in the classroom, they are also troubled by CDPHE’s most recent list.

DiPasquale says, “My first reaction is being concerned for the safety and wellbeing of the students and staff.”

According to the report, there were 28 new cases among Bear Canyon Elementary, Mesa Middle School, Roxborough Intermediate School and Cimmaron Middle School.

President Kevin DiPasquale says he worries that if this keeps up, the rest of the year might look similar to last year with lots of remote learning and closing of schools.

“I’m concerned for not being able to keep schools open in person in buildings five days a week,” he says.

Douglas County Schools says it has layered COVID-19 mitigation protocols and follows Tri-County Health Department and CDPHE guidelines in regard to masks and outbreaks. All students in the 6th grade or younger are required to wear masks in school along with any staff that would be working with them.

Not everyone is happy about that. At the beginning of the week, a group of Douglas County parents boycotted a mask mandate for students. DiPasquale says he has reviewed hospital data that shows masking stops the spread of COVID among children. He hopes people can come together in the name of safety and good health and wear masks to school.

“I would ask that individuals work together to support the community for the wellbeing of everyone in order to keep schools open,” he says.

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