EL PASO COUNTY, Colo.– School District 49 sent out a letter to parents, faculty and staff on Thursday, Aug. 19, stating that they “will not facilitate voluntary reporting and contact tracing that are designed to direct healthy individuals into quarantine and isolation.”
The district said that their decision comes after no child within the district died from the virus and only a few required hospitalization–“fewer than in a typical flu season”.
The letter continued, “Meanwhile, our larger community lost 15 youth to suicide, and the Colorado Children’s hospital issued a “State of Emergency” for youth mental health, declaring in May that, “we are seeing our pediatric emergency departments and our inpatient units overrun with kids attempting suicide and suffering from other forms of major mental health illness.”
The district said that while they are grateful to Governor Jared Polis, they now have 18 months of experience with COVID-19 and that it is their judgement “with corresponding experiential data” that the risks of quarantine are too high in comparison to the virus’s risk of transmission.
The letter also said in response to Governor Polis’s mandate that all schools must report all cases that they “respectfully disagree that the guidance is unambiguous” and cites the following state guidance available here.