By Jennifer McRae

DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis said that getting children back in school needs to be a priority. This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases new guidelines for schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

The CDC emphasizes mask wearing, social distancing and washing hands as much as possible. Vaccinating teachers is important but not a prerequisite to reopen in-person learning.

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Instead, the update is a date-driven effort to advise school leaders how to layer effective safety precautions like cleaning facilities and improving ventilation; and contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.

While some school districts are hesitant to have in-person learning before all teachers are vaccinated, Polis said the benefits of having children back in the classroom far outweigh the risks.

“It is so important educationally, socially, psychologically for kids to be in school. We’ve demonstrated that it’s safe with the layered protections that Colorado schools have successfully implemented. I’m glad to have the CDC verify that information,” said Polis.

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The CDC has charted these guidelines:

Blue Zones have low transmission and are open for full in-person learning.

Yellow is more moderate transmission, meaning schools should switch to hybrid learning.

Orange means substantial transmission, meaning schools should switch to hybrid learning.

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Red means middle and high schools should switch to virtual learning.

Jennifer McRae