For the 2021-22 school year, ISD 361 continues to strive to offer safe, in-person learning for students and staff for as long as possible. With that in mind, the school board recently voted to start the year following CURRENT MN Department of Health and CDC recommendations that everyone, vaccinated or not, wear a mask indoors. Masks, along with hand washing, physical distancing where possible, sanitizing, testing, and reporting illness, etc. support this goal by:
- Protecting unvaccinated students which also protects their families and our staff - Vaccines are the most powerful tool to slow the spread for all ages and will allow for greater lifting of restrictions.
- Improving safety when physical distancing of 3-6 feet is not possible with ALL students back in the building - This will also allow for better educational activities like stations, group work, and projects.
- Reducing lost school days - Masked students will not be considered close contacts of positive cases if masks are worn properly.
- Overall reducing the rate of Covid-19 spread allowing students to be IN PERSON and involved in extracurricular activities AS LONG AS POSSIBLE
Last year, students and staff worked together and found ways to combat the educational and social challenges of wearing masks at school and we are confident that together we will be able to do that again until safety recommendations change. Hopefully, with creativity and support, it will be even better this year. The district will continue to develop the school safety plan in the next few weeks and will share information as it becomes available with families.
Many families have shared their relief and others their disappointment with the decision of requiring masks. It was a complicated decision and one the district did not make lightly. Information is steadily changing. The district will continue to evaluate and make changes to the safety plan as evidence and recommendations change in the weeks and months ahead.
We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we start the school year. We are excited to have your students back in the building.