By Jamie Leary

ROUTT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis is keeping the decision to mask up to individual counties.

“It is no longer a proper role of the state to require you to wear something at a particular place at a particular time,” said Polis in a news conference on Friday.

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Jefferson County asked the governor to impose that face mask order state-wide but will now consider reinstating a mandate on its own, beginning Monday. Boulder and Larimar counties have already reinstated mask orders.

Hospitals numbers were down slightly state-wide on Friday but incident rates in certain areas continue to climb.

In Routt County this week, one parent pleaded with the school board to implement a mask mandate within the district, to no avail.

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Shelia Symons’ 11-year-old son contracted COVID-19 and two months later, is still suffering from the long-haul effects.

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“It’s just something to think about, and I know I’m only one parent, but I promise you, it is the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and he was a healthy, healthy kid,” she told the board on Tuesday.

Kristi Schalnus, Vice President of the school board told CBS4 in an email, “The entire board and myself are strongly aware that the pandemic is not over, and our hearts go out to any and all who are struggling with the ongoing effects of this pandemic. As a board, we will not be creating our own mask mandates. We follow all CDPHE recommendations as recommendations,” she continued, “as a board member I am not comfortable commenting beyond this basic response, as I am just one member of the board and do not feel empowered to speak for the entire board.”

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Symons says she doesn’t place any blame on the school board but believes the children were safer last year when there was a broad mask mandate across the district.

Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan doesn’t believe a mandate is appropriate for the entire county but says in south Routt County, where vaccination rates are lower by about 20%, the district might benefit.

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“I was on that school board for 12 years before I became county commissioner and I do firmly believe that the school board is in the best place to determine what’s best for their staff and their students, I would encourage them to consider putting in a mask mandate of their own within the schools,” said Corrigan.

Jamie Leary