In Florida, the Zika virus has raised alarm among some school officials, prompting bug spray giveaways and stepped up mosquito-control efforts on school grounds.
That’s not the case in Colorado.
State and school district officials here say they’re armed with federal guidance about how to handle Zika if it pops up among students, but so far it hasn’t been an issue. The state has tallied only 27 cases of Zika, all travel-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
State officials say Zika-infected mosquitos aren’t present in Colorado and that outbreaks are unlikely because the state’s climate is inhospitable to the species that carry the virus. The virus is particularly dangerous for pregnant woman because it can cause severe fetal brain defects.
Officials in Jeffco Public Schools said they’ve shared Zika information with staff, but most likely won’t take other measures unless the virus becomes a greater threat.
The situation is similar at Florence Crittenton High School in Denver and New Legacy Charter School in Aurora, two schools that serve pregnant and parenting teens. Administrators at both schools said they’re aware of the issue, but aren’t embarking on any prevention campaigns at this point.
Isabel Belliard, marketing manager for Florence Crittenton Services, said other than asking students who visit the school-based health clinic if they’ve traveled recently, there’s little concern.
“We’re not worried about it,” she said.
Federal guidance on the Zika virus recommends mosquito control measures where applicable and advises schools not to remove or quarantine infected students or staff since the virus can’t be transmitted by casual contact.