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Case updates from JPEN’s Jeffco Schools COVID dashboard

Earlier this fall, the Jeffco Public Education Network (JPEN) created a Jeffco Schools COVID dashboard that consolidates data from a variety of sources. Our dashboard adds to the data provided and maintained by Jeffco Public Schools.

Data sources for the JPEN Jeffco COVID dashboard include the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), and data from school districts across Colorado.

Are kids getting COVID-19?

A common narrative has been that children don’t get COVID-19, and if they do, it isn’t serious. However, the Delta variant — which is twice as contagious as last fall’s strain — has impacted the number of pediatric COVID cases in Colorado and in Jeffco Schools.

Here’s the latest data:

  • As of Oct. 26, there have been 132,000 confirmed COVID cases in Colorado children. This means over 9 percent of all Colorado children have been infected.
  • Jeffco weekly cases among children ages 5-11 are the highest they’ve been for the entire pandemic. Those numbers are still trending up.
  • There are more than twice as many cases in Jeffco children now as there were this time last year.
  • More than 1,300 Colorado children have been hospitalized (1% of cases).
  • 21 Colorado children have died of COVID-19.
  • On Oct. 25, Jeffco Schools reported 111 new cases — by far the highest one-day number this fall.

In Jeffco, case counts continue to rise in schools, especially among students ages 5 to 11, who are not yet eligible to receive a COVID vaccine.

The red line in the chart below shows 2021 cases among the 5-11 age group from Aug. 1 to Oct. 24. The orange line shows 2020 cases during that same time period. Cases in 2021 are more than three times higher than last year and are higher than both 2020 and 2021 cases among the 12-19 age group.

Graph comparing COVID cases among children ages 5-11 in August through October 2020 and August through October 2021.

Similarly, the JCPH graph from Oct. 24 (below) shows that case rates among children ages 5 to 11 are more than twice as high as those among children 12-19 for the seven days between Oct. 17 and Oct. 23.

Graph showing much higher case rates among Jeffco children ages 5-11 than any other age group in Jeffco in Fall 2021.

COVID cases in Jeffco elementary schools account for nearly half (49.23 percent) of Jeffco’s Fall 2021 cases as of Oct. 26.

Middle school cases make up approximately 20 percent of cases (20.21 percent). Jeffco Schools reported at the Oct. 14 school board meeting that sixth graders — most of whom attend middle school — have a larger number of cases than any other grade level as of Oct. 15.

Rates among seventh and eighth graders are notably lower, likely due to higher vaccination rates because most seventh and eighth graders are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Graph showing COVID case rates per grade level as of Oct. 15, 2021 in Jeffco Schools.
This is a graph from the Oct. 14 Jeffco School Board meeting’s COVID-19 update.

Cases in high schools make up most of the remaining cases (29.35 percent). An additional 1.2 percent of cases have occurred among staff who work at the Education Center, one of the transportation hubs or at the Quail Service Center.

Masks work!

As part of our JPEN Jeffco Schools COVID dashboard, JPEN maintains a comparison of COVID cases in school districts where masks may or may not have been required.

Our data includes Colorado counties where universal masking has been required since the start of the school year, counties where there is no current mask mandate, and counties where only some school districts or grade levels have a mask mandate. It also includes those where a mask mandate was instituted after the start of the school year.

CDPHE defines an outbreak as five or more cases in a 14-day period.

When JPEN compares counties across Colorado, school outbreaks are four times higher in districts or counties that did not have universal masking in place when school started. Total cases related to these outbreaks in those areas are five times higher.

Chart showing comparison of COVID cases in districts where masks are required vs optional.

To keep up on the latest data and find more information, visit JPEN’s Jeffco Schools COVID-19 dashboard.

Lisa Cook

Lisa Cook, Ph.D., is a writer, editor, musicologist and Jeffco resident since 1999 with two children attending Jeffco Schools. Lisa earned a BA from Valparaiso University, a Masters in Music from Colorado State University, and her Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. When not working, she can be found running (ideally on mountain trails) with Midnight, her miniature poodle. Please visit our "About Us" page to learn more about Lisa and our other writers.

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