COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has released its guide for implementing CDC guidelines for the 2022-2023 school year.

The Practical Guide for Operationalizing CDC’s School Guidance ensures the best practices in order to protect in-person learning. CDPHE made minor changes to simplify and clarify the guidance released in February of 2022.

That guidance encouraged schools to transition to a routine disease control model for COVID-19 and outlined strategies for K-12 schools to implement as they moved away from individual case-investigation response.

A routine disease control model focuses more on responding to clusters of cases, outbreaks, and evidence of ongoing transmission in schools, and less on individual case investigation, contact tracing, and quarantine following routine classroom exposures.

At this time, quarantine in K-12 settings following routine classroom exposures is no longer recommended unless it is part of a mitigation strategy put in place at the discretion of the school, district, or local public health agency when cases are increasing, outbreaks are detected, or community levels are escalating.

Students, staff, and volunteers who test positive should isolate.

Schools and child care facilities should continue to alert students, staff, and parents of known classroom cases, outbreaks, and exposures so all individuals are appropriately informed, will monitor closely for symptoms, and may choose to increase personal mitigation measures as necessary.

CDPHE will again provide K-12 Colorado schools (public, private, charter, and tribal) with a free, voluntary, and statewide COVID-19 screening testing program for the 2022-23 school year. Weekly rapid antigen testing is available to all students, staff, and school volunteers. School districts and schools can enroll in the screening program right now.

This program is scheduled to begin the week of August 22, 2022.

For more information on the COVID-19 school testing program and additional options for schools, visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/free-testing-schools.