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Archived Latest Updates: 2020-21 Planning Framework and Toolkit


This toolkit is continually updated. In each new update, this area will note key additions or changes since the prior version.

May 14, 2021

Updated Graduation Guidance as of 5/14/21:  COVID-19 Graduation Guidance Spring 2021

* Updates highlighted in yellow. 

March 29, 2021

CDPHE has released graduation guidance - COVID-19 Graduation Guidance Spring 2021

March 16, 2021

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has released the following COVID-19 Prom Guidance.


Feb. 17, 2021

Feb. 12, 2021

Performing Arts Guidance - In collaboration with CDPHE using the CSU Aerosol Emissions Study, NFHS, the performing arts guidance has been updated.  Bold areas show changes to the guidance. Full Performing Arts guidance may be found on the Performing Arts page of the CDE Toolkit.

  • Allow for at least 30 minutes or 3 air exchanges (whichever is shorter) between room occupancy after activities involving vocal speech or singing, wind or brass instruments, or activities that cause heavy breathing.

  • Ensemble size limits should be applied to both indoor and outdoor performing arts, and are inclusive of performers, instructors, and observers less than 25 feet from the ensemble.​

  • Dial Level

    Indoor Ensemble

    Outdoor Ensemble











    Maximum capacity using calculator (

    Maximum capacity using calculator (


    No capacity restrictions. Continue to follow 6 foot spacing.

    No capacity restrictions. Continue to follow 6 foot spacing.

    *Capacity limits under Red, Orange, Yellow should not exceed the maximum number of occupants allowed using the Social distancing space calculator: (

Jan. 29, 2021

In collaboration with CDPHE using the CSU Aerosol Emissions Study, the performing arts guidance has been updated.  Bold areas show changes to the guidance. Direct link to the Performing Arts guidance in the toolkit.  

Jan. 27, 2021

In collaboration with CDHE, updated mask guidance has been included for Accommodations for Masks in School and Sport Club Activities.

Jan. 13, 2021

HVAC and Ventilation - Portable Air Filters Update

Other Strategies To Improve Ventilation – The updated Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health report on risk reduction strategies for reopening schools focuses on risk mitigation strategies in physical school buildings, such as social distancing, masks and ventilation. Updated in November 2020 to address new scientific research results and to improve clarity in several instances, pages 9 and 31-35  in the report provide tangible tips on improving building ventilation.  For example, they recommend a number of low- or no-cost strategies to increase natural ventilation, including opening windows and using window or box fans. Portable air cleaners (just a few $100.00 each) with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters may be useful to reduce exposures to airborne droplets and aerosols emitted from infectious individuals in buildings.  

Jan. 8, 2021

COVID-19 Materials Developed for Tribal Use

  • Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health is producing materials related to COVID-19 for tribes to distribute in partnership with Indian Health Service and with support from the Walmart Foundation.

  • Tribal Guidance

Dec. 18, 2020

Roadmap to In-Person Learning

As a follow up to the report released earlier this week, the governor’s office has made available a Spanish version of the cover letter for parents/guardians that district and school leaders can use to share the Roadmap to In-Person Learning report from the state's Back-To-School Working Group. 

Dec. 16, 2020

School Level COVID-19 Tracking Template

Some schools and districts are tracking COVID-19 cases and sharing the information with their communities through their school or district website.  We are thankful to the American Academy for sharing their template as an example --  COVID-19 Tracking Dashboard Template

Dec. 15, 2020

Roadmap to In-Person Learning

Gov. Polis released a report from his Back-to-School Working Group (PDF) to provide districts with a roadmap to getting back to safe in-person learning for the winter/spring semester. The state’s goal is to get back to safe, consistent in-person learning for the second half of the 2020-21 school year.

Additionally, the governor’s office also drafted two cover letters, one for parents/caregivers (PDF) and one for educators and school staff (PDF), that go along with the report. The governor’s office encourages district and school leaders to share these resources widely.

Dec. 2, 2020

Screening for Symptoms of COVID-19

Schools should encourage parents to screen children for symptoms of COVID-19 before arrival to the school each day. Parents/guardians should check for new symptoms or a change in usual symptoms. A student should not be kept home for usual symptoms that they experience due to a chronic condition unless the symptoms are worse than usual. 

Daily screening of all students at school (including temperature checks) is discouraged by both CDC and CDPHE because it can create congestion or bottlenecks at screening locations where transmission of COVID-19 may be more likely. Schools may be less familiar with a child’s usual symptoms of a chronic condition than parents. Screening can divert time and resources away from learning. Additionally, if students are routinely screened at school rather than at home, schools will face challenges in isolating symptomatic students and transporting symptomatic students home, especially if they traveled via bus.

Masks in Schools and Childcare Settings

Universal masking should be practiced by all who can wear a mask safely, including children as young as 3 years old. Although the state mask mandate only legally requires masks for students 11 years of age and older, mask wearing should be standard practice for children between 3-11 years when in school or childcare. Because it is especially difficult for young children to maintain physical distancing at all times, masks provide a necessary added layer of protection. 

With few exceptions, children age 3 and older can wear masks safely. Exceptions include

  • Children under 3 years old.
  • Children with special needs who would be unable to take off a mask in an emergency.
  • Children with sensory sensitivity, such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who remain unable to wear a mask after a period of gradual adjustment.

Masks should be worn all times when indoors. Masks may be removed during the following activities:

  • When eating. Assure adequate spacing and ventilation during meal times. 
  • While napping.
  • When actively playing a wind or brass instrument. See additional guidance on performing arts.

Masks should be strongly encouraged:

  • During outdoor recess, particularly if children are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance between individuals.
  • While engaging in outdoor sports.

Children’s Hospital Colorado has a helpful Q&A page on masking for children.

Families may need to experiment with different mask designs to find one that works well. Younger children should be encouraged to wear ear-loop style masks to avoid the risk of the mask becoming caught around the neck and posing a strangulation hazard. 

Children who are just beginning to wear masks should be supported as they learn to wear masks appropriately, with understanding that tolerance and technique will improve with time. Institutions should partner with families to support children as they learn how to put masks on, how to keep them in place properly, and how to take them off independently. Children should not be excluded from in-person instruction or childcare as they are learning to wear a mask.

*Performing arts guidance updated to reflect that children younger than 11 should be wearing a mask while in the classroom:

K-5 Grades Notes:

  • There is a state public health order that individuals 11 and over are to wear a mask/cloth face covering. Masks are also strongly recommended for children between 3-10 years.
  • In elementary classrooms, singing, chanting, humming, etc. may all be integral parts of the normal in-classroom curriculum, and there should not be any issue with continuing these instruction methods as appropriate for the grade level of the students, particularly when universal masking is practiced for all students who can wear a mask safely.

Nov. 30, 2020

CDPHE has recently updated the tools and algorithms for determining isolation and quarantine. These updates are based on outbreak data, stakeholder input, and are expected to result in schools being able to maintain staffing and remain in-person to a greater extent. 

The updated CDPHE tools may all be found here. The following three CDPHE tools have been updated:

1. Return to learn highlights

  • R2 now applies to levels Blue, Yellow, Orange, and Red
  • No alternate diagnosis is required except in Purple
  • Alternate diagnosis is still a pathway to return to learning in Green without testing
  • Masks are no longer necessary for children under 3 to return to learning

2. What happens to the contacts highlights

  • If an individual has tested positive in the past 90 days, they are not subject to quarantine again if exposed to a positive case within that time period
  • Clarified that a qualitative PCR and rapid molecular test qualify symptomatic individual to return to class

3. Who is a close contact highlights

  • Targeted contact identification is available at all dial levels
  • Teachers who wear highly effective PPE (KN-95 and face shield) and maintain distance can avoid quarantine, based on close contact definition in school settings (however some close/direct contact may still be considered exposure)
  •  CDPHE still only recommends ENHANCED (FORMERLY STANDARD) CONTACT IDENTIFICATION for younger grades, where seating charts may not be developmentally appropriate or feasible

CDE has also updated the Health and Safety Checklist.

Nov. 6, 2020

  • PHO 20-36: COVID-19 Dial 
    • Effective November 2, 2020 and expires 30 days from October 30, 2020, unless extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing.
    • Appendix 1, Section 13: Clarifies that P-12 educational institutions and child care centers must follow outbreak guidance.
  • Executive Order D 2020 235 - COVID-19 Dial Framework
    • Shall expire thirty (30) days from October 30, 2020, unless extended further by Executive Order. 

Oct. 15, 2020

Oct. 5, 2020

Sept. 24, 2020

July 21, 2020 

June 22, 2020:

June 10, 2020:

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