On Friday afternoon, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced some changes to the quarantining process for schools and childcare professionals. The letter they sent stated the following:
"We are currently revising our COVID-19 guidance for school and childcare settings, including quarantine guidance, to recommend that while COVID-19 positive and symptomatic children should be excluded, exposed children should no longer be required to stay home, regardless of mask usage. Moreover, when there is a positive case, parents should be given information around exposure to COVID-19 in order to make their own informed decisions regarding risk."
Based on these new guidelines, masks will now be optional for students and staff in our school district. This will go into effect Monday, May 17, 2021.
There are several things that we will continue to do to mitigate the potential spread of the virus in our schools. We will still do contract tracing and notify parents in the event of an exposure. As long as the student does not have any symptoms of COVID-19, the parent will determine if they want their child to quarantine, or not. We will also continue to clean and sanitize surfaces on a regular basis, and we will make sure hand sanitizer and masks are available to all students.
We do understand that families have different perspectives on using face coverings, but we have followed the guidelines from the IDPH all year, and we will continue to do so now. Moving to virtual learning at this time will only be allowed if there is a doctor’s note stating that a student must move to virtual learning for a health-related reason. If this is something you are considering for your child, you should contact the building principal to discuss what this would look like for the last three weeks of the school year.
This new guidance from the IDPH may also impact some of the end of the year events being held at each school. Look for a message from your child’s school sometime next week that will include any changes associated with the specific school events.
I want to thank you all for your patience and flexibility as we navigate another significant change to the school year. The pandemic has been extremely challenging for everyone, and I am hopeful that we can get back to a more normal year in 21-22.
Rick Colpitts, Superintendent
Western Dubuque Community School District