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Tri-County Health Department To Vote Tuesday On Mask Mandates At Schools In Adams, Arapahoe & Douglas Counties

(CBS4) -- Members of the Tri-County Board of Public Health will meet again Tuesday afternoon online to vote on whether face mask should be required for schools in the Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas County school systems.

Girl wearing face mask and schoolbag walking along building
(credit: Getty Images)

The question is not just whether to mandate masks, but to what extent. With the rise of the Delta variant, the Tri-County Health Department is deciding whether to mandate masks for everyone where children 11 younger are present  -- or to require universal masking at all schools. Ten thousand comments were received by the board, and 2,000 people signed up to speak at a hearing online Monday. However, with two minutes for each person, only a small percentage got the chance to be heard.

In a Cherry Creek School District board meeting recently, divisions were apparent by the signs that parents carried.

There have been online petitions saying keep masks off, while another wanted masks to be required by all.

In conservative Douglas County, the tension was obvious at a recent school board meeting.

County Commissioner Abe Laydon told CBS4 Monday, "Right now, a decision about masking kids at all under 12 without seeing any severity metrics, I mean hospitalizations or deaths, really seems premature."

Douglas County negotiated the right to opt out of any Tri-County Public Health orders. The county plans to leave the three-county health system next year.

"Strong recommendations for our citizens are preferred over mandates where one size fits all," Laydon added.

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