Humboldt schools will allow parents to decide on masks

Protective face masks for students, parents and other staffers will remain optional at Humboldt schools this fall. Board members agreed parents will decide whether their students should wear masks.


Local News

August 10, 2021 - 10:30 AM

Humboldt-USD 258 Superintendent of Schools Amber Wheeler and board clerk Paula Kovacic share a laugh while looking over documents at Monday’s School Board meeting. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

HUMBOLDT — COVID is back on the agenda.

At Monday’s USD 258 Board of Education meeting, the bulk of the discussion was dedicated to the district’s “reopening” policy, and what its COVID-19 policies will entail.

Regarding masks, the district’s policy will be that they are “optional” for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Parents will determine whether their child will wear a mask to school.

One exception, however, is that, per federal requirement, students must wear masks whenever using school-based transportation such as buses.

Close contacts of COVID-positive students will continue to be traced and quarantined as appropriate.

Quarantine orders will be issued by the health department, and not the district itself; hence parents should direct any quarantine-oriented questions to them.

Student video and peer testimony, moreover, will not be used to make any determinations regarding quarantine.

Vaccinated students are exempt from quarantine, unless they test positive for the COVID-19  delta variant.

(Vaccination rates across the district are estimated to be about 50%)

Given the continued need for testing, the district hopes to obtain outside physician guidance and to pursue a grant to cover the costs associated with doing so.

Social distancing will also continue to be implemented where possible, with a distance of 3 feet, though class/group sizes may make this difficult in certain situations.

The plan currently, however, is to have students eat in the cafeteria and other congregate settings as they would under normal circumstances.

Polices could potentially be altered as the year progresses, for as superintendent Amber Wheeler observed, “a lot of things could change” such that modifications might be necessary.

Humboldt-USD 258 Board of Education members Helen Harrington, left, and Nathan Ellison prepare to vote on a proposal during Monday night’s board meeting.Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

IN OTHER news, the district approved a new insurance policy with PSI Insurance for $126,701.