Masks Optional

Masks Optional for Start of 2021-22 School Year
Posted on 07/29/2021
SDOW LogoMasks for students and staff of the School District of Washington will be optional when the 2021-22 school year begins on Monday, August 23.

During their monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 28, the School District of Washington’s Board of Education voted against a motion to implement masks for students in grades K-6 while leaving masks optional for students in grades 7-12. Four board members voted against the motion while three voted for it.

The School District of Washington already was following an optional mask policy, which was approved for summer school during a special Board of Education meeting in May. As a result, another vote to make masks optional for the start of the school year was not needed at the July meeting.

The Board’s decision is subject to change based on the health of students and staff, along with guidance from local health officials. The Board will continue to monitor the situation as the school year progresses.

The Board plans for in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year, and will continue to monitor the data over the next several months. Virtual learning from home will still be available.

However, per a federal order issued by the CDC, masks are required on public and private school buses and other forms of public transportation for both passengers and drivers. Per this CDC order, if a student attends a school where mask use is not required, the student is still required to wear a mask on the school bus.

The School District of Washington is recommending that all non-vaccinated or immunocompromised students and staff wear masks upon returning in August. Based on the advice of national and local health professionals, we are also recommending that students 12 years or older consider receiving the vaccination as soon as possible.

Under current guidelines, fully-vaccinated persons are not required to quarantine if exposed to a positive COVID case. Having your child vaccinated can protect them from serious illness due to COVID-19, as well as keep them in school and participating in sports, clubs and activities.

Individuals need to quarantine if they are unvaccinated and a household contact or a close contact has tested positive for COVID-19. For individuals that are vaccinated, they need to have completed both doses of the vaccine to be fully protected. If they have only received one dose, they need to quarantine. Students can avoid quarantine if all parties were wearing masks in the classroom, have recovered from a positive COVID test within the past 90 days or have been vaccinated.

The School District of Washington will continue to collaborate with local health departments and monitor data, particularly at individual school sites. If there is data demonstrating a spike in particular classrooms, grade levels or schools, additional safety measures will be put into place.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work on our procedures for a safe school year for our students and staff.

Click here for information on an upcoming COVID vaccine clinic hosted by the School District of Washington on August 20 and September 10.