OCSD expecting but not requiring face masks

OSKALOOSA — Students and staff in the Oskaloosa Community School District are expected to wear face masks when social distancing is not possible for the upcoming academic year.

Though not required, students and staff are expected to wear face masks when six feet of social distancing is impossible. For example, students who plan to ride the bus to and from school are expected to wear a mask. They will also be required to wear them upon entering and exiting district buildings.

“…if you are in close contact (within 6 feet) for more than 15 minutes without physical distancing, wear masks,” reads the district’s current Return-to-Learn plan. “The expectation is that students and staff wear masks as much as is reasonable and appropriate, but individuals and families will determine what is reasonable and appropriate.”

The district will provide one reusable mask for each student, and students are responsible for having a clean mask with them at all times. Visitors will also be required to wear a mask upon entering any district building and will not be allowed in classrooms.

According to the plan, the district may move to require masks if the situation of a specific building and/or the district warrants them or if guidance changes by the Iowa Department of Education.

In addition to masks and social distancing when possible, students will be required to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon entering district buildings and classrooms in addition to before and after breakfast, lunch, snacks and recess. Custodial staff and teachers will frequently disinfect surface areas, and deep cleaning will be done before and after each school day.

Previously, the district said temperature and symptom screening questions would be conducted upon entering any district building. Now, the district will only take a student’s temperature if they exhibit any signs or symptoms of infection. The district is also relying on parents to screen their children for symptoms before each school day.

Currently, the district plans to implement its face-to-face Learning Model. In this model, some students will receive face-to-face, on-site learning, while other students will receive online instruction because of health reasons or other family concerns. On July 24, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation that requires schools to conduct at least half of their instruction in-person.

The first day of school is set for Aug. 24.

Emily Hawk can be reached at 641-672-2581 or by email at ehawk@oskyherald.com.

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