The Colonial School District announced via a February 27th email to district families that the date of no longer requiring the wearing of masks by students and staff indoors has been moved up from March 7th to March 1st. The change was made due to updated guidance from the CDC. Those who wish to continue to wear masks can do so.
Below is the text of the announcement:
Dear Colonial families,
We are writing to let you know about a change to our Health and Safety Plan. Effective Tuesday, March 1, masks will be optional for students and staff while indoors.
This change is being made based on the updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC released new masking guidelines on Friday (click here to view them), which state that communities may alter masking requirements based on three new tiers for defining COVID transmission – high, medium and low. A community’s level is determined by the number of hospital admissions, the strain on healthcare systems, and the number of cases in that area.
Currently, Montgomery County is in the medium category. The CDC recommends that people who live in areas of medium transmission should stay up-to-date with vaccines, get tested if symptomatic, and, if at risk for severe illness, talk to one’s doctor for guidance on masking. Masks are not required, but those who have symptoms, test positive, or are exposed to someone with COVID should wear a mask. The CDC has also recommended that the mask mandate on school transportation be lifted. Therefore, masks will not be required on CSD buses and vans. Please note, however, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine as has been our practice.
This new guidance supersedes the plan approved by the Board on Feb. 17, which stated that masks would be optional indoors effective March 9, provided school positivity rates for students and staff were below three percent. Positive cases within our schools are currently below the three percent threshold.
While we have often held Board votes to modify our Health and Safety Plan, we feel it is not necessary to organize a meeting prior to March 1, given that our Plan indicates we will follow the latest guidance of organizations such as the CDC. The Board will ratify a modified version of our Plan at a special meeting on Thursday, March 3, following the Finance/Facilities, Management and Transportation Committee meetings that begin at 6 p.m. The special meeting will be held in person and on Zoom.
Please note, students and staff members may still wear masks in school if they choose. On Monday, our team of principals will work together with their buildings so that all are prepared to talk with students about respecting family choices related to masking. We sincerely hope positive cases continue to remain low in our schools and throughout the county.
Michael L. Christian, Ed.D.