When people ask Chris Urbina, Boulder and Broomfield counties’ public health medical officer, the best way to stay safe during the pandemic, he always shares the same list of tried and true virus prevention tips.
Health and Safety Precautions
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The health and safety of our students and staff is a top priority of our Back Together Reintroduction Plan.
In the reintroduction plan, BVSD will be focusing on health precautions and protocols in the areas of physical distancing, essential protective gear, increased cleaning and disinfecting, student cohorts, and health screenings.
As we prepare for the return of students to the Boulder Valley School District in January, our partners in public health say the data and research shows that schools are one of the safest places for our students and staff to be during the pandemic, because it is one of the few places in our community where a layered approach to health precautions is being implemented with fidelity on a daily basis
One of our critical layers—keeping fresh air flowing in classrooms—will get a boost thanks to a $1.4M Safe Schools Reopening grant from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). The grant money will be used to purchase portable air purifiers for classrooms, cafeterias, and libraries throughout the district as well as MERV 11 air filters for building HVAC systems.
Joining together has definitely been a theme during this pandemic for school Nurses and Health Room Paras. There have been uncertainties, switching guidelines, and changing directions. However, they have stayed tightly woven together to find the best way to keep everyone healthy and safe during the pandemic
Getting kids back to in-person learning and staying in school is what everyone wants. Safely doing so during this pandemic will continue to take everyone working together, including staff, students, and families.
Daily, before going to school, students and staff will check their temperature and fill in a questionnaire asking if they have symptoms or have been potentially exposed to COVID-19. Anyone who is sick or has been exposed is asked to stay home. If you did not do the health screening before arriving at school, an in-person assessment will be conducted.
COVID-19 is spread by small droplets while breathing, speaking, etc. If someone is unknowingly sick, which is possible because some who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic, a properly worn mask can significantly help to keep infected droplets from reaching others, even in close proximity. By having everyone wear masks, it significantly reduces the risk of transmission.
All BVSD employees have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, offering another layer of protection. Once staff are fully vaccinated, they will likely no longer need to quarantine in the event of an exposure.
BVSD and its schools have grouped students, so that in the event of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, we and our partners in public health can:
Contact Trace: quickly determine who may have been in close contact (Six or less feet for 15 minutes or longer)
Quarantine: proactively isolate individuals to prevent the further spread of the disease.
Monitor the situation: determine whether individuals in the cohort have contracted COVID-19 and whether further mitigation efforts are needed.
One of the key ways to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases is the frequency and effective practice of handwashing or the use of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Throughout the day, handwashing will be scheduled and encouraged before, after and during certain activities, like eating lunch.
Modifications have been made to BVSD’s HVAC systems to improve ventilation, including:
Maximization of the circulation of outdoor air to dilute potential contaminants
Replacement of filters
Preventative maintenance checks will be completed to ensure proper operation
Encouragement to move outside when possible
Starting in January, we will be placing air purifiers in every classroom and cafeteria in our district
- Clean and sanitize high-touch shared spaces and high-touch shared hard surfaces daily and as often as possible— water bottle filler stations, classroom desks, chairs, tables, doorknobs, handles, stairway railings. Bathrooms shall be cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day.
- Cafeteria tables will be cleaned and sanitized between each group of students.
- Surfaces that are not high touch, such as bookcases, cabinets and carpeted areas will be cleaned following standard protocol.
While we are not requiring that students be kept six feet apart, we recognize that distance is a valuable prevention strategy. Whenever possible, we will encourage the practice of physical distancing. Schools are reducing furniture in classrooms, so that desks can be as spread out as possible and whenever students are grouped together (for instance in lunch lines) we will encourage them to keep physical distancing.
BVSD teachers and other staff members who are in close contact with children and school visitors have been issued a kit with face masks, face shields, plexiglass screens, hand sanitizer, and surface cleaners to provide them additional protection during the pandemic.
BVSD has been working with COVIDCheck Colorado to offer free testing that is convenient for the entire BVSD community. Multiple locations are available with a new location just added in Boulder County, at Centaurus High School, and 2 mobile sites. See more information about testing here.
In an effort to provide transparency regarding Boulder Valley School District's COVID-19 cases, we have built a dashboard that includes data regarding BVSD's cases and letters sent to school communities.
We also closely watch the case data and trends at the county and state level.
Outdoor Learning Guidelines (English | Spanish)