Health and Safety in 2020-21


Information is current as of April 3 and subject to change.

During the 2020-21 school year, the health and safety of students, staff and the community is a top priority as Poudre School District educates children while adapting to the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic.

District and school leaders will continue to work with and follow guidance and orders from public health officials to meet evolving health and safety requirements and to implement district COVID-19 protocols at all schools and sites. Throughout the year, procedures and expectations will be monitored continuously to ensure schools and district buildings are safe environments for everyone. Some local and state agencies the district is working with include the:

  • Colorado Department of Education (CDE)
  • Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE)
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
  • Colorado Governor's Office
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Overall expectations and monitoring at schools and sites:alt=""

  • Face coverings: Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings that covers their mouth and nose. Parents/guardians are responsible for providing their students with face coverings. See more information in the FAQ section below. 
  • Students and staff who are sick should stay home to care for themselves and keep others from getting sick.
  • Procedures will be implemented to check for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, based on public health guidance. 
    • All PSD employees will be required to conduct a COVID-19 screening before entering a school or district building using a district app. 
    • Families must check their student(s) for COVID-19 symptoms daily and not send them to school if they have a fever of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or are sick. 
  • Students will be separated into cohorts at school, as possible, to reduce contact and possible COVID-19 exposure and to allow for contact tracing as necessary.  
  • PSD will regularly communicate and monitor developments with local authorities, employees and families about exposures and cases of COVID-19, and keep them informed about updates to policies and procedures. PSD is actively collaborating with county health officials on plans for possible exposure, contact tracing and school closures.

The list of health and safety procedures below are in place at all schools and sites for all phases during the 2020-21 school year. 


General school health and safety procedures

Face Coverings: Requirements and Medical Exemptions from Requirements

Face coverings: 

  • All PSD staff and students are required to wear face coverings on school grounds.
  • Although many face coverings are acceptable and follow Larimer County Department of Health and Environment guidance, face coverings should: 
    • Be worn on the face
    • Be clean and in good repair
    • Be secure - fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face
    • Include multiple layers of fabric
    • Allow for breathing without restriction
    • Be machine washable and dried 
    • Be laundered on a daily basis
  • Cloth face coverings should not: 
    • Have anything hanging off the facial covering that would create a food safety hazard
    • Have holes or tears
    • Masks should not be shared with others
    • A face shield alone is NOT sufficient. If a face shield is worn, it must be coupled with a cloth face covering to meet public health guidance.    
  • “Mask breaks” will take place periodically and outdoors for health department-approved time without face coverings. 
  • Students will be allowed to take their cloth face masks off for recess, following public health guidelines.
  • Review PSD’s Student COVID-19 Face Coverings Protocols here.
    • If students repeatedly refuse to wear a cloth face covering or otherwise repeatedly fail to comply with this protocol, the willful disobedience or defiance to follow direction from school staff will be considered grounds for student discipline up to and including suspension or expulsion and/or require a transfer to PSD Virtual, PSD’s 100 percent online option for the 2020-21 school year.


Medical exemptions from face covering requirement 
There may be rare instances when students or employees with some medical conditions or disabilities may be exempt from wearing a cloth face covering while at school. 

  • First talk with your school principal to learn more about PSD's process to request an exemption to the face covering requirement. Documentation from a licensed medical provider is required.
  • If a student is approved for a medical exemption, they will need to wear a face shield if they are able; a physical barrier will be put in place (plexiglass, plastic or other); and social distancing of six feet or more will be implemented. Additionally, if an adult(s) is working in close proximity to the student, the adult will wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which will include a gown, gloves, mask, and eye protection.
  • Other potential accommodations or alternatives, depending on the unique circumstance of the request, may include different passing/transition times to maintain distance from other students or attendance at PSD Virtual, PSD’s 100 percent online option.
  • Requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Taking part in the process does not guarantee a mask exemption will be granted.
  • If a student does not qualify for a mask exemption, the student will be expected to wear a face covering while at school.

Other Safety Actions (hand washing, school safety features)

 While at school, please keep in mind the three W's - "Wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance." Signage and wayfinding markers will be placed in all PSD schools and facilities to remind the school community about the three W's.

  • Hand washing and other hygiene practices will be promoted through a shared culture of safety.
  • Schools will have a designated isolation room or area to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-like symptoms.
  • Removable plexiglass dividers will be in front offices and possibly in other areas within PSD buildings.
  • Hand-sanitizer and touchless water bottle-filling stations are being installed.  Students will be encouraged to use water bottles and hydration stations since water fountains have been shut off per county orders.
  • All employees will be trained on health and safety protocols.

Social Distancing and Interactions (drop off/pick up times, in classrooms and throughout the school day) during Phase 3

  • Student arrival, drop-off and pick-up times - Students will go directly into the buildings after drop off. Gatherings outside of the school before or after school will not be allowed.
  • Students and staff will maximize social distancing to the fullest extent possible, but it may not be possible in all instances.  All students and staff are asked to limit close contact with others, which is defined by the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment as being within six feet of another person for more than 10 minutes. 
    • When in Phase 4, it may be difficult to maintain social distancing, but efforts will be made to maximize distancing to the fullest extent possible. 
    • Visual cues such as floor decals and/or signs will be utilized to indicate the flow and direction of one-way traffic and effective distancing.
  • Students are separated into cohorts. When at school, students will remain in the same cohort throughout the day at elementary school.
  • Classroom guidelines: 
    • Maintain maximum desk/table spacing based on room dimensions.
    • Seating charts will be used in classrooms
    • Classroom floor space will be maximized by removing non-essential furniture.
    • Furniture that can't be disinfected (i.e. soft fabrics) will be removed from classrooms and common areas.
    • Students will have their own school supplies and backpacks. Personal items will remain at the desk with the student.
    • Shared school supplies and materials are discouraged. If supplies are shared, disinfection will take place between uses.
  • Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles. Drinking fountains will be shut off, per county orders, but bottle-filling stations will be open where available.
  • School lockers are not available except for students who need them for health reasons.
  • Recesses, lunches, and students passing in the halls are staggered to keep students separated. Recess will occur outside with the following protocols 
    • Playground equipment will be used by small groups of students. 
    • Students will wash their hands upon reentering the school. 
    • Recess times will be staggered for each class/cohort.


Meals and Recess

How students will eat meals at schools during Phase 4:  Please visit the Phase 4 Schools Open with Safety Protocols web page for details.

Meals when PSD is in Phase 1 Remote Learning - Meals will be available to students at designated meal sites. See the Meals during 2020-21 web page for meal sites and information about meals when PSD is in other phases of education.. 

Outdoor recess - Playground equipment may be used by small groups of students. Students will wash hands or use hand sanitizer before entering and after exiting the playground.

Restrictions for activities at schools

  • No in-person assemblies (e.g. all-school assemblies, music performances, extracurricular activities).
  • No large gatherings or meetings over 50 people (county guidance), including events like school supply drop off, back-to-school nights, etc.
  • PSD facility rental/reservations: Beginning March 22, PSD outdoor facilities may be reserved by community groups. Indoor facilities will not be available for rent this spring or summer. For more information, visit the Facility Rentals web page. 

Cleaning, Disinfection, and Ventilation

  • Spray bottles of disinfectant for staff use in each classroom. 
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers available in high-traffic areas in district buildings, including at all entryways and main offices.
  • Circulation of outdoor air will be increased as much as possible by opening windows and doors. Additionally, school ventilation systems are designed to recirculate air and are designed to work best when windows are closed. PSD is upgrading air filters to MERV 13 filters throughout buildings to filter out micron levels of COVID-19 where possible.

Priority cleaning schedule for buildings:

  • Daily Cleaning 
    • Restrooms disinfection
    • Locker rooms disinfection
    • Health offices/public areas/reception area
    • Trash/recycling removal
    • High-touch surface disinfection 
    • Sinks and counters disinfection 
    • Vacuum/sweep of hallway floors
    • Entryway door handles and high-touch surfaces 
    • Disinfection with ionizing hydrostatic sprayer
  • Every Other Day Cleaning
    • Vacuum/sweep classroom floors
    • Sweep gym floors
    • Vacuum rooms used for small group learning 
  • Once Per Week Cleaning 
    • Vacuum office area
    • Vacuum media center
    • Scrub gym floor
    • Staff lounge
    • Outside trash removal
    • Detail cleaning (carpet stains, mopping of floors, dusting, etc.)
    • Computer labs


Fire and Lockdown Drills

PSD anticipates hosting one fire drill per month. Lockdown drills may be conducted via video training, instead of live, if PSD is in a hybrid model of education. More information will be shared when available.


  • Drivers wear face coverings. 
  • Windows and vents on the bus are left open or slightly open at all times for improved ventilation.
  • Buses are disinfected daily and between routes

Students who use PSD buses are expected to follow these protocols: 

  • Students must wear masks or face coverings at all times when on the bus. Students are not permitted to board a PSD bus without a face covering/mask. 
  •  Parents are expected to take their child’s temperature and symptom screen before leaving the house and to ensure that an ill student does not ride the bus.
  • Students entering the bus will load the bus from the rear to the front of the bus and unload the school bus from the front of the bus to the back when possible.
  • Students are not permitted to eat or drink on the bus.

For information about who is eligible for busing, visit the Transportation web page.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Schools and Sites

PPE items include:   

  • PSD logo cloth masks and gaiters for every employee 
  • Face shields for every employee 
  • No touch “germ keys” for every employee 
  • Chalk-based spray paint and a marking stick for outdoor social distancing marking 
  • Small hand sanitizer bottles for classrooms 
  • One “Under the Weather” tent to isolate individuals who become symptomatic during the day 
  • Gloves in a variety of sizes 
  • Disposable non-surgical masks for adults and children 
  • Spray bottles of sanitizer for each classroom and microfiber towels 
  • Social distancing stickers 
  • Push broom sweepers for each classroom 
  • PSD health and safety signage in English and Spanish 
  • Plexiglass barriers for main offices, reception areas, and public spaces



Procedures for specific classes, school events and athletics

Performing Arts and Music Classes

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Education recently updated COVID-19 guidance for performing arts classes (as of Feb. 8). The following mitigation measures are based on CDE guidance and a National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Aerosol Study.

General considerations - all levels

  • Between classes, proper cleaning and sanitizing will be conducted. Any items used/touched must be sanitized between classes/uses. Wind/Brass instruments should not be shared.

  • There is no maximum number of participants as long as the proper distance is maintained.

  • The use of shared materials will be limited; any shared materials must be disinfected between uses, or allowed to sit unused for at least 24 hours. Handwashing/sanitizer will be offered before and after handling materials.

  • Music will be projected on screens whenever possible or students will be provided a personal copy of the music. Music will not be shared.

  • Performances will be virtual or live-streamed whenever possible. Performance guidelines for in-person concerts or shows will be developed based on the county health situation, to include limited capacity, assigned seating, and distancing between household groups of audience members. Performances should not be planned for dates prior to April 1, and any plans for April and May should remain tentative and are subject to changing guidelines based on district-level decisions and the level of community virus spread.

Elementary (K-5)

Updated guidelines now allow for singing and humming in elementary classes (based on results from the NFHS Aerosol Study and professional guidance).

  • In elementary classrooms, singing, chanting, humming, etc. may all be integral parts of the normal in-classroom curriculum.

  • In elementary music classrooms, where singing may be lengthier and more intense, it is recommended to maximize distance with a goal of six-foot distancing for humming and singing, and to limit singing to 15 minutes per class session. 

    • Masks are required, and elementary students may wear either a cloth or surgical-style mask. 

    • In situations where six-foot distancing is not possible, cohort groups may sing for five minutes out of every 15 minutes at the maximum achievable distance (in line with their grade-level classroom spacing).

    • In all cases, staff should wear a KN95 mask and eye protection and maintain six feet of distance from students..

  • Recorder playing should use a slitted surgical-style mask for the mouthpiece and a cloth “mask” at the end of the barrel. If this cannot be achieved, classes should limit in-person recorder practice to fingerings and rhythms, without the air stream. It is recommended to remove the mouthpiece for this type of practice.


Secondary grades 6-12

  • Maximize spacing as much as possible. Whether indoors or outdoors, spacing, ventilation, and masking are the most important considerations in reducing the risk of COVID spread. For indoor rehearsals, increasing ventilation, air exchange rates, and introducing outdoor air through open windows and doors is encouraged whenever possible.

  • Masks are required indoors at all times. Wind and brass players should use a mask/face covering that allows them to place their mouthpiece under the mask or through a small slit or flap in the mask (this mask should be used only for instrument playing, and a standard intact mask used for other times of the day). Outdoor work can be done without masks if the proper distance is maintained, though masks are still recommended for outdoor rehearsals.

  • For all singing, playing of wind/brass instruments, and projected theatrical speech, 12 feet of distance is recommended between all participants, indoors or outdoors. Masks are required indoors at all times, including for singing.

  • Instrument bell covers are highly recommended. If spit valves are emptied, the saliva must be collected with an absorptive surface and discarded between classes.

  • Non-singing and non-playing activities in music and performing arts classes may be conducted with 6 feet of distancing--these lower risk activities could include music theory worksheets, viewing items on a screen, or string instrument rehearsal. Closed-mouth humming is permitted with 6 feet of distance, but any singing that involves the mouth opening must observe the 12 feet of separation, or the mitigated 6-feet requirements listed below.

    • Note: The county strongly encourages 6-foot spacing, but in lower-risk activities in situations with space limitations, the distance may be reduced to as little as three feet. At distances of less than 6 feet, up to double the number of students would need to quarantine if there is a suspected COVID-19 case. The 12-foot distance (or mitigated 6-foot distance) is required for singing/playing wind and brass instruments, without exception.

If the following conditions are achieved, spacing for choral singing and wind/brass instruments, along with projected theatrical speech, may be reduced to 6 feet in all directions (6x9 for trombones):

  • Use of slitted 3-layer surgical-style masks for wind/brass instruments and the use of well-fitted 3-layer surgical style masks for singing.

    • Flutes create a minimal amount of aerosol and it is recommended to play flute with the headjoint between their mouth and surgical mask and with a cloth “mask” at the end of the barrel.

  • Bell covers should be used for woodwinds and brass AND should be made with a multi-layer cover with the center layer being made of MERV-13 filter material, or a 3-layer surgical style mask using a standard such as GB/T32310.

  • Indoor singing and playing should be limited to 40 minutes followed by a minimum of one air exchange rate (ACH), preferably 3 ACH, to change the air indoors with outside air. Air exchange can be achieved with appropriately sized HEPA air cleaners in cases where the HVAC air exchange rate is not high enough.

  • Staff must wear a KN95 or better mask and eye protection (face shield).

Science Labs and Art Classes 

  • Educators will limit the use of shared science and art equipment that would be shared among students during a class period.
  • To the extent possible, adequate supplies will be provided to minimize sharing of high-touch materials (art and lab supplies, equipment, etc.). Equipment will be cleaned/disinfected between uses.
  • Individualized digital tools will be utilized, when possible, to lessen students sharing equipment.   

Physical Education Classes

  • Classes will be conducted in a way that students and staff can respect physical distancing guidelines, when possible, classes will be conducted in outdoor spaces. 
  • Educators will limit the use of shared PE equipment and eliminate the use of equipment that would be passed among students during a class period.
  • When used, equipment that is touched or handled by a student will be cleaned/disinfected between students/classes.
  • Students will be advised to dress in clothes that are appropriate for participation in PE to reduce or eliminate the need for lockers.


  • PSD will follow guidelines provided by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), recommendations from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) regarding team sports and activities.
  • PSD has consulted national, state and local health department protocols and guidance in the creation of the “phased” return to in-person activities plan.
  • All parents/students participating in athletics will sign a release indicating their understanding of the health and safety risks and protocols in place to reduce the exposure to the coronavirus.
  • In compliance with any health orders, it's possible that students may be asked to withdraw from participating in athletics.
  • Participants will be grouped in student cohorts to minimize the potential of spreading the virus. If someone becomes sick, to the greatest extent possible, PSD will try to quickly identify the students who have been in contact with that student.
  • Based on national and state guidelines, district athletic directors and coaches have participated in several training presentations to ensure a clear understanding of the required safety measures and protocols that have been established to minimize the exposure or spread of coronavirus.
  • All sport season timelines and athletic schedules are tentative and subject to change based on CHSAA, State of Colorado, Larimer County and PSD guidelines and restrictions. All athletic teams/programs could be subject to calendar and schedule modifications that will impact scheduled opponent’s, length of the sport season, locations, dates, times and total number of scheduled games and practices.
  • More information: PSD Athletics, Activities and Events web page

School Assemblies, Field Trips and Travel

  • All school events such as school assemblies, pep rallies, plays, dances, concerts, back-to-school nights, etc. will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if they can be held safely. Public health officials will be consulted for all events
  • All field trips and/or other activities outside of school, including 5th-grade ECO trips, will not be allowedfor at least the first quarter (roughly nine weeks after the start of school). Decisions may be made later on a case-by-case basis in accordance with public health guidance and orders. 
  • All out-of-state and international field trips have been canceled through the end of 2020. 

Spring events guidance; Prom 2021

PSD plans for Prom 2021:  For information, please visit the Activities, Athletics and Events Status web page.  


Spring events guidance

PSD follows LCDHE’s guidance for indoor and outdoor events, including the county's maximum number of people allowed for each type. School COVID-19 Response Teams will complete a required form detailing event plans and submit it to their respective assistant superintendent for review prior to approval.

Participants, attendees and organizers of events will be required to wear face masks and social distance, as well as follow appropriate health and safety protocols at events. 

EventsLevel Green - Protect Neighbors (use caution)Level Blue - Use CautionLevel Yellow - Concern (advised to stay home)Level Orange - High Risk (strongly advised to stay home)Level Red - Severe Risk (stay at home)Level Purple - Extreme Risk (stay at home ordered)
Group sports and camps50% capacity or 500 people *50-person capacity per activity25-person capacity per activityVirtual or outdoors in groups less than 10Virtual or outdoors in groups less than 10Virtual or outdoors in groups less than 10
Indoor unseated events and entertainment50% capacity or 500 people *50% capacity or 175 people*50% capacity or 50 people no calculator (or up to 100 with calculator)25% capacity or 50 people (with calculator)*Closed, excluding museums, aquariums, and zoos**Closed
Indoor seated events and entertainment50% capacity or 500 people *50% capacity or 225 people with 6ft spacing between groups50% capacity or 50 people (or 150 people with 6ft spacing between groups)25% capacity or 50 people*Closed, excluding museums, aquariums, and zoos**Closed
Outdoor events and entertainments50% capacity or 500 people *50% capacity or 250 people*50% capacity or 175 people *25% capacity or 75 people25% capacity or 75 people (with calculator)* attended only with household members and 6ft spacing between groupsClosed
Outdoor guided services50% capacity or 500 people *50% capacity or 25 people*50% capacity or 10 people *25% capacity or 10 people*25% capacity or 10 people*25% or up to 10 in your own household*



Monitoring symptoms, quarantine, PSD protocols for COVID-19 and vaccinations for youth

Please visit the PSD Protocols web page for complete information. 

Staff Testing, Symptom Monitoring and PSD Protocols for Staff

All staff are required to symptom and temperature check each day prior to entering the building using PSD’s COVID-19 online application or app. 

Visit the PSD Protocols for COVID-19 web page to see all protocols and learn about state and county guidance and what happens when there is a COVID-19 case in PSD.

Staff Testing Site Update:  Due to decreasing utilization and wider availability of testing throughout Larimer County, PSD is closing its staff testing site. It will operate for one final day from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 21 at Poudre High School, 201 S. Impala Drive in Fort Collins on the west side of the school in the parking lot. As fewer staff used the site, it was decided that it was the most effective use of time and cost to close the site and allow nurses and site staff to return to their usual duties. 

Student Symptom Monitoring and PSD Protocols for Students

Student Symptom Monitoring: Student symptom and temperature checks are the responsibility of parents/guardians and should be done prior to students getting on the bus or entering school.

Visit the PSD Protocols for COVID-19 web page to see all protocols and learn about state and county guidance and what happens when there is a COVID-19 case in PSD.

PSD Volunteers and Community Partners - Symptom Screening and COVID-19 Protocols

Volunteers: PSD is allowing a limited number of volunteers at schools. They are restricted to roles where minimal close contact will occur for staff or students, such as outside traffic monitoring during arrival and dismissal, outdoor recess monitoring, and possibly clerical work such as shelving library books or making copies. Volunteers are required to follow all protocols including wearing masks and personal protective equipment, and pass a symptom screening before entering any PSD school or building.

Community Partners: PSD is allowing community partners at schools for educational student opportunities.

  • In order to ensure safety for community partners, students and staff, community partners must complete and submit this planning form for approval by PSD prior to scheduling their event. School COVID-19 Response Teams will review all submissions prior to approval.
  • Principals have the authority to make the final decision about which community partners are allowed in their school, following all established protocols. 
  • Those with questions should contact their respective assistant superintendent, who may consult with the Central Office COVID-19 Response Team.

Learn more about volunteer COVID-19 protocols and symptom screening on the PSD Volunteers web page

COViD-19 testing for minors in Larimer County and vaccinations for youth

Vaccines for students -  As of April 2, Colorado is currently vaccinating everyone eligible in previous phases of the vaccine distribution plan and the general public ages 16 and older.  Currently (as of April 2), those who are 16 or 17 years old can only receive the Pfizer vaccine, which has limited availability. Parents/guardians should check with a provider to see which vaccination is available prior to their child’s appointment. More information >> 


Testing for minors

  • Larimer County testing sites
    • Must be 5 or older to be tested
    • PCR tests (takes 2-3 days typically to get results) 
    • Scheduling a head of time is recommended but walk-ups can be taken if space allows 
  • Youth Clinic / Pediatric Urgent Care of Northern Colorado
    • PCR tests, Binax (antigen), and Abbott ID Now (molecular rapid test), time to results depends on test taken
  • UCHealth
    • PCR tests, results take a few days
    • Having an appointment beforehand is needed
  • Banner Health
    • You cannot walk-up, appointment and phone screening is required
  • Walgreens
    •  No-cost testing for ages 3+
    • Schedule an appointment online 
  • Many physicians or pediatricians' offices will test for their patients if they’re symptomatic or have been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19

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