As vaccination rates go up, and COVID cases drop, the Douglas County School District is making plans to a normal return for the 2021-2022 school year. Following a June 1 meeting with the Douglas …
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As vaccination rates go up, and COVID cases drop, the Douglas County School District is making plans to a normal return for the 2021-2022 school year.
Following a June 1 meeting with the Douglas County School Board, SuperintendentCorey Wise announced plans to eliminate mask mandates along with other COVID restrictions next year.
“It is our desire to return out schools back to a pre-COVID normal,” Wise told parents in a June 2 letter. “That means no face covering requirements, no quarantines, and allowing parents and visitors back into our school buildings.”
The following standards are planned for the new school year:
• Face coverings are no longer required.
• COVID immunizations for staff and students are not mandatory.
• Physical distancing will no longer be implemented.
• Quarantines of non-symptomatic students and staff will be discontinued.
• Visitors will be permitted in schools and buildings.
• Field trips will resume.
• Foreign exchange programs will resume.
• Athletics and activities will go back to normal.
• Facilities rentals will resume.
Practices that will continue include:
• Encouraging students and staff to practice good hygiene
• Disinfection protocols will continue
• District will continue to invest in a ventilation system
• Encouraging families to keep students home when sick
Wise said even though restrictions are being lifted, students and staff who want to wear masks are free to do so. The school will accommodate the needs of each individual student and staff member, Wise said.
While vaccinations are not mandatory, Wise said the district will still work to educate and encourage students, staff, and the community to get the shots.
“While we are not mandating it, I recommend it,” Wise said. “We are working to provide a stable and quality education.”
“We are going to encourage students and staff to let us know they have been vaccinated. We want to do whatever we can to get us back on the path to normal.”
A major reason the district is getting back to normal is due to the increased rate of vaccinations, Wise said. According to Tri-County Health, in Douglas County more than 65% of the population 12 and up have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Just over 56% of those eligible to get vaccinated have received both doses.
For staff, Wise said an incentive to get vaccinated will be in how sick days and paid time off can be utilized in the 2021-2022 school year. Guidelines for sick days will return to pre-COVID rules. Wise said if teachers and staff have COVID or COVID symptoms in the new school year, they will be required to use sick days.
After reviewing quarantine practices in the 2020-2021 school year, Wise said changes will be made to primarily have students and staff who are showing symptoms be quarantined rather than an entire class or school.
At times throughout the last school year, entire schools and hundreds of students were put in quarantine at any given time. Wise said changing protocols for quarantining only those who are sick or symptomatic will further help the district return to normal.
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