After examining a number of data points and consulting with health officials in our district and in our community, the district has determined that the mandatory masking policy can be adjusted.  ISD 31 is moving from its mandatory masking policy, to strongly recommending masking.  The policy change will take effect at the beginning of school on Tuesday, February 22, 2022.

The district is making this change due to steep declines in community COVID numbers as well as very low numbers in the school district.  We are currently at the point where we see those numbers have dropped to a point where we believe we can move away from mandated masking.

The COVID case rate throughout the district has been very low over the past several weeks. In some schools within the district, there have been no recently-reported cases of COVID.  In addition, the two-week rolling averages have dropped during this same time period.  Furthermore, between the vaccination rates of students and the numbers of people who now have post-COVID immunity, we believe mandatory masking is no longer necessary at this time, but is still strongly recommended.

One more factor that was significant in making the change from mandatory to strongly-recommended masking is the fact that the district has just received a shipment of KN-95 masks from the Minnesota Department of Health which may be used by those who still would like that additional measure of protection.  

While the district is moving to a mask recommendation, it is important emphasize that, if conditions were to change and COVID numbers begin to spike again, additional precautions, such as masking, may need to go back into effect in order to keep schools open safely. 

Another important caveat is that the Federal Transportation Administration still has a mask mandate in place on all public transportation, including school buses, through March 18, 2022.  It is still to be determined whether or not that mandate will be extended beyond that date.  However, masks will continue to be mandatory on all school buses until further notice.

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