Starting Wednesday, most people over the age of 2 need to cover their noses and mouths while inside schools and child care facilities, Denver’s government announced Tuesday.
The city’s newest public health order follows one from earlier this month that directed many people, including teachers, to get vaccinated or risk losing their job. Bob McDonald, Denver’s top public health official, said the face coverings will help shield people younger than 12 — who aren’t eligible to be vaccinated — from the delta variant.
“While it’s imperative that all eligible people continue to get vaccinated, masks add another layer of protection for children, especially those too young to be vaccinated,” McDonald said. “Requiring face coverings in schools and child care facilities will protect against the spread of the highly contagious delta variant and will help maintain in person learning this school year.”
COVID-19 cases among Denver children remain low compared to the peak in the fall of 2020, but have risen slightly since June, according to the latest data from Denver Health.
Denver Public Schools had already mandated masks for students, teachers and staff.
The public health order says masks should be removed during naps and that children should sleep 6 feet apart. Parents and caregivers must supervise the use of the masks, according to the directive. Children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or otherwise require facial expressions to communicate are exempt from the order. The order does not require masking outside.