Face coverings will not be required for staff or students at Delta County schools to begin the 2021-22 school year. The school district revealed a number of preliminary COVID-19 health and safety protocols during the July 15 school board meeting.
Assistant Superintendent Kurt Clay told the board that while the face coverings will not be mandatory, those who still wish to wear them may do so. He also emphasized that the mask protocol is subject to change depending on the state.
“If we had a little up tick that could change but as of right now we’re not planning on having any masks at the schools,” he said.
According to the preliminary guidelines, face coverings will not be required in any educational space or activity including school buses, athletics or other activities; however, the district will support any individual who chooses to wear masks.
In addition to face coverings, the district will not make COVID immunizations mandatory for staff or students. Clay said the district will continue to promote getting the vaccine for families, staff and students who are interested.
Under the guidelines, a staff member or student who is immunocompromised and unable to receive the vaccine can request for special accommodations. The district will allow a teacher who is immunocompromised and unable to take the vaccine to request that his/her students wear masks while in their classroom.
Quarantines of healthy/non-symptomatic students and staff will be discontinued under the new guidelines. Starting in the fall if a student/staff member tests positive for COVID-19 or shows symptoms they will be asked to isolate for 10 days unless they can show proof of immunization. The person in isolation may return to school if they receive a negative test result after day five of the isolation period.
“Quarantines are not completely discontinued but for the most part, the way we’ve done them in the past, they’re discontinued,” said Clay, adding that there may still be quarantines for contact sport teams.
Also under the guidelines, the district pledges to make COVID-19 testing more accessible for symptomatic students/staff. The district will encourage but not impose any physical distancing measures, they will promote good hand washing and do normal sanitation at all facilities.
For the most part, Clay said the district will return to normal operations when it comes to visitors, athletics, and extracurricular activities. He said COVID mandates and policies may change from district to district. Clay also told the board that CHSAA will likely come out with its own guidelines and for now all sporting schedules are normal for next year.
Lisa Young is a staff writer for the Delta County Independent. This story was edited for space. The entire story can be read at deltacountyindependent.com.