By Jennifer McRae

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4)– Cherry Creek Schools is requiring face masks inside school buildings for all students PreK through 6th grade and the staff who work with the age group. Just last week, the school district said that the decision to have children wear masks in school will be up to each family.

(credit: Getty Images)

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Cherry Creek Schools said that the change was made per frequent conversations with Tri-County Health Department about COVID-19 conditions and the surge of the Delta variant, which is highly transmissible and highly contagious. According to Cherry Creek Schools, “Tri-County stated in a letter today that it is not safe for students younger than 12 years old to attend school without a mask, as they are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine at this time.”

The letter went on, “For this reason, Cherry Creek School District will require masks inside school buildings for all students PreK- 6 and the staff who work with this age group. More than 90% of students in sixth grade are in this age group, so we will be requiring masks for sixth grade students until further notice.”

The school district also provided key points from from Dr. John Douglas, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department:

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Transmission of COVID-19, exacerbated by the more transmissible Delta Variant, is highly likely in the school setting without high levels of mask wearing.
Transmission in this setting would pose considerable risk, including:
Risk to the health of children, especially those not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Risk of transmission to family and friends outside of the school setting, especially for those at higher risk of complications from COVID-19.
Risk of interference with in-person learning due to isolation of positive cases and quarantine of children exposed in outbreak situations. This is particularly important toward our shared goal of maintaining a high-level of in-person learning with its positive impact on education, mental health, and social-emotional development of our children.

Cherry Creek Schools also said that mask-wearing is important in keeping students and staff safe and that while face masks are not mandatory for those in grades 7 and up, it is “strongly recommended that all students and staff wear masks inside school buildings regardless of vaccination status.”

(credit: ThinkStock)

Cherry Creek follows other school district around Colorado requiring masks in some capacity; Denver Public Schools have announced mandatory masks for all students and staff while inside buildings, regardless of age or vaccination status. Jeffco Public Schools announced a similar policy for students ages 3-11.

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Masks are required on school buses and a federal CDC requirement mandates face masks on all public transportation and transportation hubs.

Jennifer McRae