For the 2022-23 school year the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is emphasizing a “routine disease control model” for addressing the impact of COVID-19 on schools. Such a model focuses more on response to clusters of cases, outbreaks, and evidence of ongoing transmission in schools, and less on individual case investigation, contact tracing, and quarantining of staff and students following school exposures. A routine disease control model for COVID-19 more closely aligns COVID-19 efforts with public health response strategies used for other infectious diseases (influenza, norovirus, step, etc.) in schools.
Continue to recommend transmission prevention strategies, including testing and masking for staff and students following illness and exposure.
Continue to support regular mask use by staff and students, even when not required by local public health orders. CDC continues to recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status and at all transmission levels.
Respond to clusters of cases (including increases in respiratory illness) and confirmed outbreaks as described below.
Continue to report identified cases and outbreaks to public health as required by Colorado Statute and Regulation (6 CCR 1009-1).
In lieu of individual case investigation and contact tracing, implement new cluster or outbreak detection strategies including public health reporting of school absenteeism data and participation in wastewater surveillance. CDPHE is exploring funding mechanisms to support this work.
Strategies not continued in the routine disease control model (unless a cluster or outbreak is detected):
Individual case investigation and contact tracing.
Quarantine of students and staff with school-associated exposures.* Given the much greater risk of household exposures compared to non-household exposures, schools should continue to follow quarantine guidance for students and staff who report household exposures.