Face Coverings Required for P-K12

Face Coverings Required for P-K12
Posted on 08/31/2021

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August 31, 2021

Dear Douglas County Families and Staff,

We love having students back in the classroom for in-person learning. The energy is high at our schools and students and staff are engaged. From elementary school fun runs to middle school dances to high school football season, it's exciting to see our families and students once again enjoying these milestone activities and we want to keep that going. However, we must balance the continuous transitions that come with the challenges of the ongoing COVID pandemic. I know that together, as a community we can navigate this next shift for our students.

Last night, the Tri-County Health Department’s Board of Health met to revisit its recent Public Health Order regarding the wearing of face coverings in schools, which went into effect on August 23. The Board of Health voted to implement a new universal health order regarding facial coverings for all schools, and voted to rescind the policy which previously allowed Boards of County Commissioners to opt-out of countywide Public Health Orders. Given that the Tri-County Health Department has the legal authority to issue Public Health Orders, DCSD is obligated to follow their mask-wearing requirement. Neighborhood, private, magnet, and charter schools within Tri-County Health Department’s jurisdiction all fall under this Public Health Order.

This new Public Health Order requires facial coverings to be worn by all individuals age 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, in all school and child care settings. It goes into effect September 1, 2021, and remains in effect until December 31, 2021, unless amended, extended or rescinded by the Tri-County Board of Health. The Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) notes in the Public Health Order that: the Delta variant is leading to a marked rise in case rates among children in TCHD’s jurisdiction, and that the CDC has found that adopting universal masking policies can help avert school closures and isolation or quarantine, especially if combined with other interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation.

The Tri-County Health Department has stated they will monitor local data along with state and national data to evaluate any future changes.

As a result, effective tomorrow, Wednesday, September 1, the Douglas County School District will require the wearing of facial coverings inside school buildings for all students and staff (grades preschool through 12) regardless of vaccination status. We recognize that some students and staff cannot tolerate a facial covering due to medical or mental health reasons. Families can provide their school with documentation (DCSD Medical Exemption Form) from their qualified healthcare provider exempting their child if they cannot tolerate a face covering due to medical or mental health reasons.

In addition, the following protocols will continue:

  • Masks are required indoors for before and after school activities (including BASE) and activities/athletics.

  • Visitors to DCSD buildings are required to wear a face covering.

    • This includes DCSD staff and contractors who are inside school buildings when students are present.

  • All students and staff must wear masks on school buses regardless of vaccination status. The federal CDC order requires face masks on public transportation and at transportation hubs.

Students and staff should bring their own face covering, however if they do not have one a facial covering will be provided to them by their school. Click here for information on how to select the most effective masks and how to wear masks correctly and consistently for the best protection.

We continue to navigate the complexities of our current circumstances, and we empathize with the varying emotions regarding COVID mitigation protocols in our schools. However, as we have previously communicated, our goal is to keep our students and staff safe and in the classroom for in-person learning. I ask and encourage each of us to step up and come together to follow this new public health order.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and partnership. If you have any questions or wish to provide feedback regarding DCSD’s COVID mitigation protocols, please email LookingForward@dcsdk12.org.

Sincerely,

Corey Wise
Superintendent
Douglas County School District

Source: Tri-County Health Department - Public Health Order Requiring Facial Coverings For All Individuals Aged 2 Years And Older In Schools And Child Care Settings

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