Mid-Del school board lifts mask requirement for students and teachers
MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma (KFOR) – Just weeks after voting to require masks in the classroom, the Mid-Del Public School District School Board overturned the mandate on Monday.
Students and district staff are no longer required to wear masks. They are only now encouraged to wear them.
Of the five members of the board of directors, three voted for the lifting of the mandate and two abstained from voting.
“The reality is that the longer we have the mask mandate in place, the more people we will have to opt out and the less effective it will be as a mitigation strategy,” said Superintendent Rick Cobb.
He said about 5% of the students chose not to attend and the mandate had become difficult to enforce.
When implemented on September 7, the district was recording more than 100 new cases of COVID per week, according to Cobb. Now the weekly issue is in the twenties.
Cobb also announced the end of contact tracing and universal mandatory quarantine.
“[It was] causing hundreds and hundreds of students to quarantine, and what we still see is that with the number of students that we were quarantining, we have a lot of non-sick people missing out on school and that don’t help anyone, ”Cobb said.
Cobb said the only students who will now be forced into self-quarantine are those known to test positive for COVID.
Some teachers in attendance expressed unhappiness with the new policies, but Cobb remained firm.
“There are staff who are not comfortable with what we do and no matter what we change, there will also be staff who are uncomfortable with it,” he said. “I don’t know if there is a solution that will make everyone comfortable as well. “
While only students who test positive will need to be quarantined, Cobb said they would likely notify parents when a member of their child’s class tests positive.
Parents then retain the option of quarantining their child, but this is not mandatory.
The district will reinstate a mask warrant and mandatory quarantines if the number of positive COVID-19 cases increases and exceeds 0.5% of the total student and staff population for two consecutive weeks.
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