SV schools require masks at large events

SPRING VALLEY – In an email Friday, Dec. 10, Spring Valley School District Superintendent John Groh confirmed the administrative/health leadership team made the decision last week to implement a face covering requirement at large events.

“The ability to move to a requirement has been in our SDSV Return to Learning Plan since the beginning of the school year,” Groh said. He referred the Journal to the plan’s components: Component 1: Universal and correct wearing of masks and masking plan (subject to change) . Universal and correct wearing of face coverings is strongly recommended for all students, staff and visitors, but is not being mandated by the School District of Spring Valley.

. Depending on state and local guidance and conditions, masking may need to be re-introduced in high-risk situations for infection mitigation, including in choir, PE, and athletics.

'Unfortunately, our district COVID active case numbers are much higher right now than anyone wants to see,” Groh said. “The numbers in Pierce County are likewise not in a good place. As we reviewed our upcoming event schedule, the team evaluated the likelihood of COVID transmission without masking as very likely. So, the decision was made to require face coverings of all non-participants in concerts, ceremonies, and athletic events that involve large groups of visitors coming into the school setting.

“We considered everything from no requirements all the way to considering making Wednesday's elementary concert 100% virtual. The challenge in these situations is to balance the many factors and make the best decision considering everything while having the smallest impact on the students and student-athletes.”

The requirement for masking at event began Dec. 8 and will expire Dec. 31. Participants such as students, athletes, coaches or referees are not required to mask, but non-participants are.

The district informed parents of the decision Monday afternoon, Dec. 6 through a letter and social media, Groh said. The elementary school held its first in-person holiday concert on Dec. 8, the first such event since December 2019.

“Guests began arriving nearly an hour before the concert,” Groh said. “It was good to see that 99% of those that arrived had a face covering or grabbed one at the door. Our community really kept the focus on the students and their performances. Spring Valley is an incredibly supportive community!”

Large group events the next two weeks will mainly include basketball games, Groh added. The district is reaching out to visiting schools to share its face covering requirement for fans and anyone else who is not a direct participant. “We appreciate when people bring their own mask, but we'll have some on site for those that forget,” Groh said.

As of Dec. 3, district students/staff totaled 19 confirmed active COVID cases: 13 at the elementary, one at the middle school and five at the high school.

To register for a COVID test at the Spring Valley Elementary School gym, go to and pre-register. When selecting the site, choose “non-public test site.” You will receive by email a QR code to bring along to the test. When you arrive at the elementary gym doors, call 949-662-5986 and someone will meet you at your vehicle.

Rapid and PCR tests are being offered to students, staff and their families free of charge this year. Rapid tests results are generally back within 15-30 minutes, while PCR tests take three to four days.

A Spring Valley School Board Committee will meet at 5 p.m. Dec. 15 in the middle/high school boardroom to review applications for the board vacancy. The full board will vote on the candidate at 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20 in the MS/HS boardroom.

December 14, 2021