ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Students in Jeffco Public Schools who are ages 3-11 will be required to wear masks in their schools when classes start next month. The school district sent an email to families relaying the news on Friday afternoon.

Jeffco Public Schools says it’s recommended that students, teachers and other staff who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 wear masks, but not required. Students ages 12 and up who are unvaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks, and unvaccinated staff members will be required to wear masks indoors.

Jefferson County Public Health made an announcement that in an effort to have “a healthy, safe return to in-person learning” masks are recommended for everyone in schools in Jefferson County when classes begin for the new school year, regardless of vaccination status.

JCPH’s guidelines also state quarantine guidelines for exposure to COVID will be strictly followed. Jeffco’s email stated the following:

“Quarantines greatly interrupt learning for healthy children. In order to avoid quarantines of numerous students in any one classroom or school who may have been exposed to a positive case, we will require masks for students ages 3 to 11 (generally PK through 6th grade) in all schools while indoors. Once a student becomes fully vaccinated (currently eligible at age 12 or older) masks are recommended, but not required. If a student has a unique need that prohibits them from wearing a mask, families should contact their school as soon as possible to begin the 504 process or secure their medical or religious exemption.”

Classes start for most Jeffco students on Aug. 17.

Jesse Sarles