COLORADO SPRINGS — As kids head back to school, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is issuing new guidance for the upcoming school year.
"We want our guidance to be responsive to what we are experiencing," said State Epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Which is why they are continuing with a new approach to COVID-19 for schools and child facilities.
"Our school guidance is much less about that day to day routine investigation and contact tracing instead using a broader disease control strategy," said Herlihy.
Treating COVID like communicable diseases where the focus is on clusters and of cases and outbreaks.
"What we are really doing is learning what we have from other communicable diseases over many years on how to manage them and make safe environments for kids in school," said Herlihy.
To help ensure in-person learning and minimize the impacts of families.
"There is a much less emphasis on quarantines and you'll see this in both CDC and our guidance. The focus instead on exposures for people to wear a mask and get tested," said Herlihy.
The biggest change is entire classrooms won't have to quarantine over positive cases, but they recommend schools and child care facilities continue to alert families and staff of known cases, outbreaks, and exposures.
"A big focus of our guidance is that close partnership between schools, districts and public health. Making sure that information is being shared with public health when increased absentee is occurring," said Herlihy.
That data is key in helping the department track outbreaks, and they don't expect any soon.