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Update to Mask Wearing at Schools to Begin in November

 

Update from Superintendent Murillo on October 22, 2021: 

It has been five weeks since our school district renewed a mask expectation for all students and staff in classrooms during the instructional school day. During this time, the vast majority of students have been wearing their masks as expected, and we have been providing mask breaks several times throughout the day. If students are unable to wear a mask, we are providing the opportunity for them to physically distance themselves, inside the classrooms, from others when this is possible. 

As you know, the renewal of the mask expectation in our schools was prompted by a court ruling that suspended the Iowa ban on mask mandates in schools. We have been closely tracking the positive COVID-19 case data in our schools and community, and are prepared to begin a transition out of the district-wide mask expectation.

We will be using the data collected the week of November 1 to implement the new three-tiered Mask-Wearing Decision Matrix pictured below, which takes into consideration our school data on the percent of current COVID-19 cases among students and staff at each school. We will also continue to monitor Pottawattamie County Public Health COVID-19 trends that might influence a change in health measures. 

We recognize that each of our buildings is different, so we will treat each building as a separate entity when considering COVID-19 data. Our goal is to be prepared to make adjustments, as necessary, if conditions related to COVID-19 change in our schools or the community.

Mask-Wearing Decision Matrix

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Beginning on Friday, November 5 at 2pm, and each Friday after, we will communicate if there are any adjustments to mask-wearing that would be in effect the following week for any school, based on the criteria in our decision matrix. We will also post each building’s status as well as the breakdown of current cases among students and staff district-wide on the district website. 

The mitigation efforts currently in place to clean and sanitize our schools will remain a priority to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus and other seasonal illnesses, and we will continue to encourage the wearing of masks for those who wish to do so. 

The Pottawattamie County Health Department will work with us to schedule booster vaccines for school district staff members. In addition, we have offered to distribute information from the Health Department about vaccine clinics for children, ages 5 and up, if and when a vaccine is authorized.

There will be an informational presentation about this plan at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, October 26th at 6:30 pm. The Board meeting will be livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel. Thank you for your cooperation on the continued efforts to protect the health and well-being of all of our students and our staff who serve our students.

Sincerely,

Dr. Murillo