COLORADO SPRINGS — The debate over masking in schools has rocked school districts across the country, but one district in Southern Colorado says it is seeing results after implementing a mask mandate for students, staff, and visitors.
D11 began it's mask mandate on September, 9, and since, then school officials have been collecting data on case numbers.
The chart below is on the district's website and explains how many cases and quarantines were reported during the first 15 days of school without masks. The chart also compares these cases to 15 days of school with masks. The data shows a significant drop in not only quarantines, but also COVID cases in D11. This comes as El Paso County's COVID cases continued to increase.
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From Aug. 16 to Sept. 6 there were 285 cases of COVID-19 reported, resulting in 1,259 quarantines among students and 52 quarantines among staff. From Sept. 7 to Sept. 27, after the mask mandate was implemented, there were just 154 COVID-19 cases reported and 301 total quarantines. School district officials say their mandate is a success because it's keeping kids in schools, as opposed to remote learning.
"It's very helpful for us to achieve our goal of keeping kids in person in classrooms," Devry Ashby, Chief Communications Officer for D11, said. "We are so grateful for the patience of our families and kids, but obviously we want to be mask-free. That's the goal but for right now because of the rising cases in El Paso County, we will continue to wear masks," she said.
The CDC recommends universal indoor masking in all schools for both students and staff, regardless of vaccination status. The agency and many public-health experts are pushing a "layered" approach that includes masking, social distancing, screening and testing, improved ventilation, and hand-washing.
Ashby went on to say they will continue to wear masks through the end of this semester and will evaluate the data again.