Colorado public health officials have adopted and clarified CDC guidance for the 2021-2022 school year.

ACROSS COLORADO — New state health guidance was released Tuesday for public schools in Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued guidelines for K-12 teachers, students and staff; however, local schools can issue their own requirements.

The statewide Back to School Roadmap — adopted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance — includes increasing ventilation, planning more outdoor activities, wearing masks, testing for COVID-19, screening for symptoms, implementing spacing, disinfecting and handwashing.

"We want to make sure that schools remain a safe place, and this plan outlines ways to reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 in the school setting, while facilitating in-person learning," said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The best way to mitigate disruptions to in-person learning is increasing vaccinations, public health officials said. Fully vaccinated staff and students won't have to miss school due to quarantine and fully vaccinated staff and students do not have to wear masks unless they choose to.

"Our data demonstrate a clear association between Colorado's increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates and decreasing case, hospitalization, and death rates," said Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

"Yet our unvaccinated Coloradans remain vulnerable to the new variants, especially the Delta variant, which appears to be more likely to make young people ill than previous variants. Because many students have yet to be vaccinated and students under 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine, we must continue to remain vigilant, take important mitigation steps that can reduce transmission of COVID-19, and address outbreaks in a safe and thoughtful manner."

Any school or school district that's interested in hosting a vaccination clinic can complete the vaccination event request form to receive more information about vaccination partnerships and outreach.