Posted Date: 09/13/2021
At its regular meeting, the USD 470 Board of Education voted to extend the current mask requirement through September 27.
We know our staff, students, and families have a variety of opinions related to wearing masks and we respect the mixed emotions you may have about this decision.
The decision to continue requiring masks was made based on several important factors:
- Our primary goal is to keep our students safely learning in person each day.
- Children under 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine and a significant portion of eligible students remain unvaccinated.
- Based on CDCs contact tracing guidance, if an unmasked student tests positive, nearby students must quarantine, even if they were wearing masks. However, if both the positive case and the contacts are masked, the contacts may stay in school. USD 470 will apply this to staff members who might be close contacts too.
- Our recent mask requirement has significantly reduced the number of students missing school due to “close contact” quarantine.
- The CDC, KDHE, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend a mask requirement for student and staff safety, and as a way to help schools remain open.
In addition to these factors, the district currently lacks the personnel to adequately maintain a test-to-stay model without masking. The Board will revisit the issue on September 27. In the meantime, the district will continue to work toward hiring additional nurses and/or health aides and prepare gating criteria with the goal of reducing the need for widespread masking. We appreciate your support and cooperation as we move forward. Thank you for helping us protect each other and remain in school.
To view the updated plan, please visit https://bit.ly/3ljojIR.