A group of school children with school bags and backpacks go to school, view from the back.

Back-to-school health highlights

August 29, 2022

As Garfield County students head back to the classrooms, Garfield County Public Health highlights some important reminders to keep families healthy.

Back-to-school vaccinations
Make sure students are up to date on their vaccinations. Children are generally due for shots at four to six years of age, 11 years, and 16 to 18 years. Ask your primary care provider or Garfield County Public Health if you and your child are due for vaccines.

COVID-19 and schools
Students no longer have to stay home if exposed to someone with COVID. However, if your child is sick (with any illness) keep them home.
• If you suspect COVID, get tested.
• If COVID test is positive: isolation guidance is to stay home for five days. If symptoms improve on day six, they can return to school wearing a mask for an additional five days.
• If COVID test is negative: stay home until symptoms have been resolved for at least 24 hours without medication (such as fever reducers).

The risk of monkeypox to children and adolescents in the United States is low. Monkeypox virus can infect anyone – including children – if they have close, personal, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox.

In this outbreak, most cases of monkeypox have been associated with sexual contact. Although less common in the current outbreak, monkeypox may also spread by touching contaminated objects (such as toys or eating utensils), fabrics (clothing, bedding, sleeping mats, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.

If you suspect your child may have monkeypox, please contact your primary care provider or Garfield County Public Health for further information.

Free or reduced lunch program:
For the past two years, all Colorado students ate for free with the help of federal pandemic-era funding. This year, that funding is gone, and families must complete a free or reduced-price meal form to determine their eligibility.

The value goes beyond just a meal.

• If you are unsure if you qualify, school staff can assist you.
• Each district receives state funding for students, based on the total number of free or reduced eligible percentages throughout the district.
• Funding is distributed across the district benefitting all students and staff.
• Information is kept confidential and within the school district.
• Applications are available online or at the front office of all schools in the district.

Lunch box safety
You can’t see, smell, or taste bacteria. If packing a lunch from home, follow these safety tips to ensure your to-go food is still safe to eat at lunchtime.

• Wash hands with soap and water before preparing and eating lunch and snacks
• Bacteria hates cold. Use an insulated cooler and at least 2 cold sources, such as freezer packs, for lunches with perishable items like lunch meats, eggs, cheese, or yogurt.
• Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a different one for meat and poultry. This avoids cross-contamination.
• Rinse fruits and vegetables under running water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten.
• Make sure reusable lunch bags and coolers are clean before packing.
• Throw away all leftover food.