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At the special Board Meeting held on Thursday, August 5 the USD 320 Board of Education took the following action that consisted of three parts:


  1. Masks were mandated to be worn for the first three weeks of school and the Covid numbers (positive cases, quarantines, etc.) monitored weekly.
  2. Further, it was decided that the decision on whether or not to continue wearing masks would be a weekly decision, utilizing the gating criteria that been used in 2020-21 to determine in-person or remote learning. Sept. 8 was the date specified for the first, official, review of the numbers.
  3. Finally, whether masks-required or mask-optional would be a building-by-building decision; meaning it would be possible for one school to be required to wear masks and the others not.


The school year started with a several positive cases and a large number of students having to quarantine. However, in the post two weeks we have seen a significant decrease in both positive cases and quarantines. The community transmission numbers are still in the moderate to substantial ranges, but our school numbers, positive cases and quarantines, are now quite low in all four of our schools.


Therefore, in keeping with the action of the BOE, masking in all USD 320 schools will be OPTIONAL for the week of September 20-26. The covid numbers will be collected again on September 22 and a decision for the week of September 27- October 3 will be made and announced on September 23.


It is important to understand that making masks optional does not change our adherence to the required quarantine or isolation guidelines, nor does it affect the mitigation procedures such as the clear barriers that are in place. Wearing masks on school transportation is still a requirement, as is wearing a mask if a student or staff member is “Testing to Stay.“ All of these measures will continue for the foreseeable future.


Also, it needs to be pointed out that we started the school year with masks when many districts started with masks optional. We are now making masks optional because of our low covid numbers when many districts have recently mandated or are considering mandating masks due to large numbers of positive cases and/or quarantines of their students and staff.

This is an issue that will need our constant and ongoing attention.


A link to the Covid criteria as of 09.15.21 is below:

Current COVID-19 Masking Criteria for 9/15/22