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Republic School District makes masking decision for 2021-2022 school year

(KY3)
Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 4:07 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2021 at 4:08 PM CDT
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REPUBLIC, Mo. (KY3) - The Republic School District will begin the school year requiring masks in its classrooms.

The district announced the decision Monday. The policy begins Tuesday. The district will continue to hold classes five days per week.

The district remained masked throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year. School leaders say they believe masking will lead to fewer quarantines. And they say the community spread is higher than it was during the last school year.

Classes in the district begin August 23.

The district released this statement to parents:

Throughout the last 17 months COVID19 has brought about many challenges and changes. In reflection it’s important to note that together, through the use of many mitigation strategies and demonstrating patience and grace for one another, we’ve been able to host in-person, seated school five days a week for the large majority of school time. This is a celebration in the midst of so many continued unknowns, and for that we express our gratitude to our community.

As the 2021-22 school year approaches we all find ourselves still working through the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic. In times of uncertainty we feel it’s important to focus on doing what we know is most important and the actions we know are proven to work to make them happen.

In the case of school, what’s most important is having our students safely on campus, inside our classrooms as many days as possible. This is proven to be the most effective way to help our students grow academically and to meet their needs socially and emotionally.

During the 2020-21 school year we learned many action steps that we can take that worked to make this happen. These proven strategies work to keep our students at school and learning in the healthiest way possible during this pandemic.

At this time we know that…

  • Community spread of COVID19 is higher than it was in the spring of 2021 when we ended school.
  • The number of COVID19 positive children between the ages of 0-11 was approximately 138 in September 2020 and is now over 500.
  • Universal masking allows for fewer quarantines through the use of modified quarantine practices. This means more students are able to remain at school inside the classroom learning.
  • Routines are extremely important both at home and at school. Quarantines disrupt those routines not only for learning, but also for parent work schedules and overall family activities. We want to reduce the number of quarantines as much as possible.
  • The CDC was on our campuses last spring evaluating our COVID19 mitigation strategies (masking and modified quarantine). These strategies proved to be so effective at keeping students in school and slowing the spread of COVID19 that they are now being recommended and implemented in schools all across the country.

Therefore, we must lean on what we know are proven strategies to best meet the needs of our students and employees during the pandemic.

Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, August 10 the Republic School District will continue with and reimplement many of the mitigation strategies that worked for us last spring. Specifically, masks will be required for everyone ages two and older (excludes students who attend the EC building location) inside all district buildings when social distancing is not possible. This will be reevaluated on September 3 to determine if masking needs to continue or not. Communication will be sent on September 3 with details for moving forward. The following criteria will be evaluated on September 3, and throughout the school year as needed, to determine masking needs. Protocols can vary by building based on these items.

  • The number of positive COVID19 cases combined with the number of quarantines in each individual school building is 7% of the population or lower.
  • AND/OR
  • District/building COVID19 trends show decline.

AND/OR

  • Overall community spread of the disease is declining.

AND/OR

  • Substitutes are readily available for needed positions.

Read more about the district’s entire policy here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ufQnBHHbdzMC_uesbhEzhRj4h67-Uyu1ZCX5mRCHw6k/edit

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

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