El Paso County Public Health not requiring masks in schools, daycares

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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — El Paso County won’t be requiring face coverings for students. However, masks will still be required on school buses.

The County’s Public Health Department published their COVID-19 School and Child Care Guidance on Wednesday.

Teachers and parents chiming in on whether it’s a good idea to not require masks in the classroom.

“Based on last year, my experience, and how trends are going, I think having them lifted is a great option for schools,” Hannah Friday said.

Mrs. Friday just recently moved to Colorado Springs from Wisconsin and has been teaching for 7 years. She doesn’t plan on wearing a mask.

“From a relational standpoint with the students, it really prohibited me from building relationships with them and teaching them face to face in the same capacity but that being said, I tried to keep my distance from them,” Mrs. Friday added.

“I think they should have masks, my grandchildren are all wearing masks to school whether they are required or not,” Retired Teacher Debie Fornero said. “They can still spread germs and even though they are saying that this virus doesn’t affect children as much some children it does affect and why risk it.”

“I think it’s more distracting to his learning than it is helpful to preventing something that is not really going after kids anyway,” Rebecca Schlarbaum said. “I don’t think they need to be required, because there are other options for parents.”

Besides being a parent of two, Mrs. Schlarbaum will be an art teacher at the new Spark Online Academy.

Some believe the masks are too much of a distraction.

“The biggest thing is all the other behavioral issues that you have to deal with as an educator, plus teaching the content it’s also very hard for that expectation where your not wearing your mask properly,” Mrs. Friday explained. “I was constantly sending people to the principal office or sending them home because they weren’t wearing their masks throughout the day.”

“I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal in a classroom, there aren’t that many students in there,” Mrs. Forenero said. “I think children need to be in the classroom, I don’t think they are getting their education at home.”

El Paso County Public Health will base its recommendations on the current scientific understanding of COVID-19.

“I think having the decision in the hands of the parents is a great thing,” Mrs. Friday said.

The School Districts will follow the new state criteria on outbreaks which are reporting if five or more confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases. Students who have COVID will have to wait 10 days from the onset of symptoms, be fever-free without fever-reducing medicine, and have an improvement in symptoms before they can return to school.

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