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Board of Education votes to make masks optional at high school level

The Board of Education, at a special meeting on Monday, Oct. 18, unanimously voted to make barrier face masks optional for high school students (grades 9-12) effective Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Barrier face masks are still required for staff and students at elementary and middle schools.

Due to federal regulations, barrier face masks are still required for high school students and staff on school buses and district vehicles.

The Board made the decision to make masks optional at the high school level in light of declining community spread of COVID-19, declining spread among students, and the high rate of vaccinations among high school-aged students and adults. In an effort to respond to potential increases in COVID-19 cases, the Board voted to add metrics for when barrier face masks would be reinstated for high school students and staff.

High School Metrics for Barrier Face Masks
Masks will remain optional if the weekly percentage of recommended quarantines and isolations do not exceed four percent (4%) of a high school’s student enrollment. 

If the percentage of recommended quarantines and isolations is greater than four percent (4%), barrier face masks will be required as they are in other USD 232 buildings for at least two weeks and the percentage of recommended quarantines and isolations is less than two percent (2%) for two consecutive weeks.

Test to Stay & Learn
In an effort to provide an option to help keep all students and staff in school, the district will provide voluntary COVID-19 testing through a plan known as Test to Stay and Learn.

The Test to Stay and Learn plan provides free, daily testing for all students (PreK-12) and staff who are identified as close contacts and recommended for quarantine by the county health department. A close contact is someone who, through proximity and duration, was close to a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Daily testing will take place during the recommended quarantine period with the goal of keeping students in school.

Voluntary participation in this testing strategy effectively reduces or eliminates the need for close contacts to miss in-person school after exposure to a positive case.

Learn more about Test to Stay & Learn