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PK-12 Mask Requirement

Update

September 2, 2021

Dear Wildcat Family,

The 2021-2022 school year is underway, and we are thrilled to have our students back in the classrooms. Watching our teachers and staff engage in the love of teaching and working with your children is very exciting to observe. Our plan has been and continues to be focused on keeping our students and staff in a safe, in-person learning environment. 

As the school year began, our hope was to move past the COVID-19 stresses experienced over the past 18 months. However, our team knew that we had to be prepared to adjust our safety protocols quickly and efficiently if unsafe health conditions emerged.

The Data

An analysis of our building data since the week of August 16 shows nearly 50% of all positive cases within the SCSD are coming from students in grades 7-12. In addition, our weekly positive case count for last week exceeded any previous week from the 2020-2021 school year. Although there are quarantines in our elementary schools, our data indicates that a positive case in grades 7-12, where masks are not required, results in approximately twice as many quarantines.

Keeping Students in School

When determining whether a student is unable to come to school due to quarantine, the District is required to follow the Guidelines for Quarantine After Exposure in the K-12 Classroom Settings, published by the ODH and CCCHD. Quarantine guidance is found here.

Our two main objectives are to keep students and staff safe AND to keep students learning in-person. With that said, according to the CDC, ODH, and CCCHD guidelines for quarantine after exposure in K-12 settings, vaccinated individuals may remain in the classroom and participate in extracurricular activities and sports as long as they are symptom free.More importantly, if the exposed individual was unvaccinated, but wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate social distancing, they can also remain in the classroom and participate in sports and extracurricular activities as long as they are symptom free. This is only possible under the following conditions:

  • Masking for students and staff (regardless of vaccination status).
  • Strategies to maximize physical distancing (at least 3 feet social distance).
  • Documented COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures (identification of individuals experiencing symptoms, strategies to increase ventilation, protocols for cleaning, etc.).

Our Responsibility

As a public school district, it is our responsibility to provide students with the best possible education. Knowing from past experience that students learn best in person, the SCSD will continue to proactively implement every possible level of protection to ensure the safety of our students and staff and remain in the classroom.

Therefore, to continue safe in-person instruction and limit the number of required quarantines, the District will require masks for all PreK-12 students, staff and visitors inside all district buildings beginning Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

Students who are unable to safely wear a mask due to disability or who may qualify for an approved exemption should contact their building principal to obtain the necessary exemption form. Exemptions only apply to the requirement to wear a mask. It does not exempt the student from the impact of quarantine.

Please note that data will be reviewed on a weekly basis to determine the necessity of masking.

One Wildcat Team

Based on community voice, the District is aware that parents exist on both sides of the mask debate. The Springfield City School District Board of Education and District Administration value and respect the perspectives of all of our families. However, with the recent number of positive cases in our buildings, coupled with the staggering number of quarantines, we fear that our ability to provide in-person learning will quickly deteriorate.

I remind you that we are one team, one community and one family. We are all Wildcats. I ask you to come together and support one another to ensure the health and safety of our students.

Thank you, stay well and Go Wildcats! 

Robert F. Hill, Ed.D.  

Robert F. Hill, Ed.D.
Superintendent/CEO
Springfield City School District