West Grand School District changes mask guidelines | SkyHiNews.com

West Grand School District changes mask guidelines

West Grand’s Board of Education supported an update to the district’s approach to COVID-19 guidelines that would temporarily require masks in class when a cohort meets a certain positivity threshold.

On Tuesday, the board voted to add masks to classrooms for a two week period when a cohort sees 5% of the students test positive for COVID-19 within two weeks. Cohorts are the high school, the middle school and individual elementary school grade levels.

Board president Shawn Lechman said the district is trying to be flexible while maintaining options for parents and students.

“I think Liz (Bauer) has put out a good plan,” he said. “The kids aren’t learning as well when they’re not in school.”

The main goal of the change is to keep students in schools for in-person learning and reduce disruptions caused by quarantines, Interim Superintendent Liz Bauer said.

“We’re going to make our decisions based on the educational value of keeping our kids in the buildings,” Bauer said.

The district is still recommending students wear masks outside the required periods, as well as getting vaccinated, though vaccines remain optional. Bauer explained that these methods would help keep students in class under the public health guidelines for contact tracing and quarantining.

“We can agree or disagree about things, but our main focus is keeping kids in our schools,” she said.

In addition, West Grand has enrolled with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for the serial testing program, which allows parents to opt their students into regular testing to avoid quarantines.

Currently, the schools are only offering nasal swab testing, but Bauer said the district is working to have a saliva swab option as well.

“We want to provide our parents with options,” Bauer said.

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