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Back to School: How Colorado Springs districts are handling COVID-19

KRDO

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A few local districts are already heading back to school. Some are following El Paso County Public Health's recommendations and returning without any COVID-19 restrictions in place.

District 49 returns to class on Monday, August 2, 2021, without any COVID-19 restrictions in place for the school year. The district isn't requiring masks, social distancing, or limited classroom capacity.

This decision is despite this week's updated CDC recommendation that students should wear masks in all K-12 schools.

D49 is sticking with El Paso County Public Health's (EPCPH) recommendations instead. When KRDO reached out to EPCPH just after the CDC's mask update, they said they do not intend on implementing a mask mandate right now. However, they do strongly recommend that El Paso County residents continue to take safety precautions (like hand washing) and staying informed.

"Everyone, staff, students, and parents are welcome to wear masks. They are not required to wear masks at this point," Sand Creek High School Campus Director Amy Sanchez-Martinez said.

If the recommendations from El Paso County Public Health change and require tighter restrictions, Sanchez-Martinez said the school will be much more prepared than last year.

"We are absolutely set up differently if we were to have to enact restrictions or change the format of our education because now we have a system in which we can do it," she said.

For now, though, the staff is just excited to get back to school. They even visited a handful of student's homes ahead of the new school year.

"Just kind of asking if they have questions, and to see what they need from us to have a successful school year and they got a couple of little Sand Creek things to start their year off with. It was actually really neat to see the kids where they're coming from and just have those conversations with them," Sand Creek High School English teacher Miriah Grabow said.

The school also held a Community Clean-Up Day to help prepare for the new year.

"We made sure that every piece of land every piece of trash that is within proximity of our school was picked up so that we can have a place that we're proud of," Sanchez-Martinez said.

If El Paso County County Public Health recommends changes to the way they operate, Sanchez-Martinez said the district will follow those recommendations.

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Sydnee Scofield

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