Masks are once again the hot topic of conversation in the news, for government officials and in our community. People are wondering if masks will be required again this year at school. The district is currently not planning to require students and staff to wear masks. Of course, it is always optional should students and/or staff members choose to wear one.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the district has said that it would follow the guidance of medical professionals and the Iowa and Marion County Public Health Department. Currently, the Iowa Public Health Department has stated they plan to treat COVID-19 as any other communicable disease, such as a cold or influenza. This means that staff and students should stay home if they are sick. The district will no longer contact trace or require students and staff to quarantine if they have been exposed to COVID-19. They will have to quarantine if they are sick with COVID-19 or have had a positive test. That has not changed.
The situation can always change. The State government could make a mandate to require masks, or the Department of Public Health could reverse their guidance. At that time, the district would have to revisit mask policies and procedures. But for now, here is what the board approved for the 2021-22 school year:
-Masks are optional for students, staff and visitors
-Students and staff will not be required to quarantine if they have been exposed to COVID-19
-Students and staff ill with COVID-19, or have had a positive test, will not be allowed at school for 10 days after symptoms start and at least 24 hours with no fever and improved symptoms or 10 days after a positive test
-No remote or online learning option will be provided by the school district. State law does not currently allow for this option as Melcher-Dallas is not an approved online school by the State of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Education. We were able to provide that option last year as part of the Governor's proclamation. It has since expired.