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Students at Sand Creek International on the first day of school.

Harrison School District 2 Superintendent Wendy Birhanzel announced that as of Sept. 7, “All students, staff, parents, and visitors will be required to wear a mask indoors in District schools and offices. Masks will also be required for before and after-school childcare, indoor athletic events, extracurricular activities, family nights, and any other school-related activities beyond the regular school day. Masks will not be required outdoors, other than waiting in line at the snack bar or restroom. Masks will continue to be required on school buses per federal law.”

According to Birhanzel’s announcement, D2 has experienced COVID outbreaks at Sand Creek International, Sierra High School and Carmel Community School. Colorado Springs School District 11 Superintendent Michael Thomas announced a mask mandate for staff members during a Sept. 1 Board of Education meeting. District 11 does not currently have a mask requirement for students, but could require them for students if El Paso County’s incidence rate continues to rise. Currently El Paso County Public Health is reporting 254 cases per 100,000 people.

“Our positivity rate and the number of students and staff who have to quarantine is at .03 percent, and we are monitoring COVID-19’s impact in our community,” said Birhanzel. “Our goal is to safely keep our schools open and keep our students in school.”

Birhanzel’s statement also noted that masks must be appropriate and worn correctly. “Face masks and face coverings must cover the nose and mouth and be secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or wrapped around the lower face,” she said. “Neck gaiters are not acceptable as face masks. The District will continue to provide access to masks if your student needs one.”


Heidi Beedle is a former soldier, educator, activist, and animal welfare worker. She received a Bachelor’s in English from UCCS. She has worked as a freelance writer covering LGBTQ issues, nuclear disasters, cattle mutilations, and social movements.