Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment mandates masks in schools

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(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

PUEBLO, Colo. – Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment issued a Public Health Order today to require all individuals ages two and up to wear a face mask while indoors at all childcare centers, youth camps and pre-K through 12th-grade schools in Pueblo County, Colo.

The Pueblo County Board of Health said that the order is effective starting on Monday, Aug. 30.

PCBH said that the order is justified for the following reasons: recent increase of COVID-19 cases in Pueblo, the local transmission rates, increase incidence of the delta variant, low compliance with the recommendation for indoor mask-wearing, low vaccination rates in eligible students and children under 12 years are unable to receive the vaccine.

Pueblo County’s current COVID-19 data:
* 124.9     One-Week Cumulative Incidence Rate
* 3.9%      One-Week Average Positivity Rate

Required face coverings are made of cloth, fabric, soft or other permeable material without holes, covering both the nose and mouth.

In the order facial coverings are defined as made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that cover only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face.

The following individuals are exempt from the order:

1.    Individuals under age 2.

2.    Individuals who cannot medically tolerate a face covering.

3.   Individuals who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C 12101 et. Seq.).

4.  Individuals for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

  1. Individuals performing any of the following activities are exempt from the face covering requirements of this order while the activity is being performed:

a. Individuals who are hearing impaired or otherwise disabled or who are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication and a clear Face Covering is not available.

b. Individuals who are actively eating or drinking during meals or snack time.

c. Individuals who are asked to temporarily remove their face covering for identification purposes in furtherance of a service requiring legal identification.

d. Individuals who are actively engaged in a public safety role, such as law enforcement personnel, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel.

e. Individuals who are receiving a personal or medical service where the temporary removal of a face covering is necessary to perform the service.

f. Individuals who are in a swimming pool and actively engaged in a pool activity in which their face covering might become wet.

g. Individuals participating in certain high-intensity activities when breathing becomes difficult. 

h. When a student in a classroom setting for academic credit at a PK-12 school is actively playing an instrument that cannot otherwise be played while wearing a face covering and the instrument has a bell cover.

i. Individuals who are actively napping or resting pursuant to state licensing requirements.

j. Individuals who are alone in an enclosed room.

The order will be reviewed when there is a two-week downward trend of cases with no more than 50 cases/ 100,000 in the previous seven days and a downward trend of average percent positivity with no more than 3% average positivity in the previous seven days. 

To read the full public health order, click here.

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