At the August 24th board meeting there was a lengthy discussion about the challenges related to COVID, which resulted in a unanimous vote that masks will be required of all staff and students beginning Thursday, August 26th.
Here’s what you should know:
- You do not need to wait until Thursday to don your mask -- please feel free to begin wearing a mask as soon as you read this message;
- This mandate will be in place for the next 8 weeks, with COVID updates reported out at each board meeting;
- The next board meeting is September 14th, however you can follow case counts daily on our COVID dashboard;
- Masks will be available at all district facilities and on school transportation for anyone who needs one.
Exceptions will be made under the following circumstances:
- Staff who are vaccinated may remove masks while teaching if doing so improves communication during the lesson, lecture or announcement;
- Staff and students may remove masks while eating and drinking;
- Students may remove masks to participate in recess, gym, athletics, band and similar activities;
- NOTE: Individuals with medical fragility as outlined by the CDC or who have diagnoses that prevent them from putting on or taking off their own mask are also exempt. Situations in question will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Additional takeaways from last night’s board meeting:
Since the return to in-person learning last week we've had a steady and exponential uptick as seen on our online COVID Dashboard (by exponential, we mean that we went from 7 cases to 28 to 77 in the span of three days). Current case counts as of this email:
- Positive cases students: 24
- Positive cases staff: 8
- Quarantined students: 48
Behind the numbers:
The majority of cases (30/48) have been traced to close contacts outside of our schools;
To those which were traced internally, our cafeterias have been the highest point of exposure (14/48) -- we will be sharing our plan to address this issue very soon;
This past spring Lorain High served as the host site for 14 vaccination clinics. Now that cases are on the rise again, so too is demand for vaccines. Be on the lookout for upcoming vaccination news soon.
Our goal is to keep our kids in school, and to keep our kids, staff and families safe. Therefore we will continue to do all we can to avoid exposure, isolation and quarantine.
As we have promised from the very beginning, we will err on the side of keeping folks safe. Therefore, please join us as we continue to "Wash Up, Back Up, Mask Up." Help prevent the spread!
ANSWERS TO FAQ:
Q | What if a child or adult forgets their mask?
A | Our schools and buses will have a supply of masks on hand for anyone in need.
Q | What if a child or adult refuses to wear a mask on school property?
A | Please know that this is a rarity in our schools. If the situation presents itself, we will follow board policy to resolve the issue on a case by case basis.
It can be helpful to remember the “Swiss cheese method” to COVID safety — each barrier provides a degree of protection. Our goal is to implement as many barriers (mitigation strategies) as we can through masks, vaccinations, social distancing, hand washing etc.
Q | Will masks be required of Lorain City Schools staff members who work in other school buildings, such as at St. Peter or St. Anthony?
A | No. Masks will be required only in school buildings and facilities which are under the purview of the Lorain City School District. District employees who work in private schools will be expected to follow those rules and guidelines.
Q | Will masks be required during athletic events?
A | No. Students participating in sports and similar activities such as gym, recess, and band are exempt from wearing masks. Individuals attending athletic events are encouraged to wear masks if they are unvaccinated.
Q | When is the next Lorain City Schools vaccination clinic coming up? Can I get a COVID booster shot at that time?
A | More details on this are coming soon. In general, mass vaccination clinics are scheduled in response to demand and availability. Therefore, we should expect that the next vaccination clinic to come on our campus will be to serve the highest number of individuals.
For instance, it is more likely that a mass vaccination clinic will be scheduled soon for individuals ages 12+ rather than for individuals who are immunocompromised desiring a booster of the vaccine.
We will continue to keep you updated as details become available.