Superintendent: ‘The idea is to not be jumping back and forth to masking and unmasking By John McLoone The Hastings School Board refined the language in its mask guidelines at its meeting last Oct. …
Superintendent: ‘The idea is to not be jumping back and forth to masking and unmasking
By John McLoone
The Hastings School Board refined the language in its mask guidelines at its meeting last Oct. 27. Right now, all students are in masks, and Superintendent Dr. Robert McDowell asked for new language in the guidelines that stipulates time periods when masks are necessary.
We’ve had questions come up with clarification of how long do we stay in masking once we move into masking,” he said.
As COVID-19 numbers rise and fall, McDowell said the district wants to avoid confusion.
“What we’re trying to avoid is in mask one week, out of mask one week, in mask,” he said. “How do we clarify this? This has come up as a point of questioning from the community.”
The board unanimously voted on language that when the district level of COVID-19 meets the threshold for masking, masking will start the following Monday and last for a minimum of two weeks.
“My understanding was that it was clearly communicated that we would have two weeks of data before we switched,” said board member Lisa Hedin.
In short, the board approved language to its guidelines that once in masking, it will last for at least two weeks.
“The idea is to not be jumping back and forth to masking and unmasking,” said McDowell.
The school district gets data from Dakota County Public Health each Friday, and families are updated through the Raider Update Newsletter, that’s published on the district website and Facebook page each Friday.
In the Oct. 31 version of that newsletter, McDowell wrote, “We’ve had folks wonder what the process will be for removing the mask requirement, should numbers drop. The school board approved an additional clarifying statement this past Wednesday, ‘Face covering levels will remain in place for a minimum of two weeks, beginning the Monday following the date which the 14-day per 10,000 rate drops below a threshold set point number.’ Hopefully, this helps explain that we would not make an immediate move if the threshold number drops, as we want to avoid moving in and out of masks as much as possible.”
As of Friday, the COVID case rate per 10,000 dropped to 45.6 and the school district rate dropped to 62.5. The district needs to drop below the threshold of 50 to drop its mask requirement.
McDowell reported that last week there were 20 positive cases in the district. Five were elementary students, there were nine students and three staff member cases in the middle school and three high school students.