By John McLoone Like school districts all over, the Hastings School District is hoping for the best in terms of the impact the COVID-19 delta variant has on the coming school year. The Hastings …
By John McLoone
Like school districts all over, the Hastings School District is hoping for the best in terms of the impact the COVID-19 delta variant has on the coming school year.
The Hastings School plans to make a final decision on whether masking for students will be required at its Aug. 25 meeting, after a discussion at a work session last week.
Superintendent Dr. Robert McDowell sent a communication to district families Friday.
“While we are in a different situation, the pandemic is clearly not over and will impact how we do schooling this coming year. I am acutely aware of the anxiety our current situation is causing for people. We are continuing to take our guidance from the CDC, MHD, and Dakota County Health experts, and to this point, we have stayed inline with what has been either required or recommended. Our current plan is for all students to be back in buildings five days per week. We will contact- trace based on the requirements from MDH. Only positively infected people will be required to quarantine, we will social distance as practicable, cleaning protocols will continue, and masking is required on all transportation. The school board had a discussion about general masking requirements at the work session this past See SCHOOL DECISION Page 3 School Decision
From Page 1
Wednesday and is expected to make a final decision regarding masking requirements at the August 25th Regular Business meeting,” he said.
McDowell told the board at its last regular meeting July 28 that most of the start of the school year will mirror things the district did at the close of the last school year with new actions based on the vaccine.
He said visitors will need to wear masks. There will be physical distance between students and staff.
“People who are not fully vaccinated have to be tested regularly,” he said.
“Ss we move along through this, pretty much everything on that list is stuff we ended the year doing. As we move into this school year, we’re going to maintain our cleaning protocol of what we do when school is in session.”
He said that if there are close contacts, whether you’re forced to quarantine depends if the student or staff member is vaccinated.
“As of right now, if you’re vaccinated, you don’t have to quarantine,” he told the school board.
Because of the rapidly-changing situation, the board is waiting as long as it can to make a final decision.
“We’ll continue to monitor those things as they change. I anticipate this is going to change right up until we go to school,” McDowell said. “While people want to know the answer today, it’s not necessarily a need to have an answer today.”
He said summer school sessions went well, and there were no masks.
“In summer school, we did not wear masks, and we did not have a positive case,” he said. “But now you’re going to have 300 kids in a building, not 100.”
Said Board President Kelsey Waits, “Right now the way the board has approached this, this is up to the administrative team. Really the question is if the board wants to change that box.
“It seems like we’re getting back to what happened last year, as long as delta is doing whatever delta is doing,” she said. “At this point, we are recommending masks but not requiring them. If the board is looking for something different, we can talk about that.”
“With regard to masks, for us operationally, we can wait until the day before school starts,” said McDowell.
Board members agreed its best to see what happens over the next couple weeks.
“It’s a fluid situation. We have to wait and see how it goes,” said Dave Pemble.