- Westwood Elementary School
Message from the Superintendent: ISD 728 COVID-19 Update
July 29, 2021
As the start of the school year approaches, we at ISD 728 are here to inform you of some continuing updates as we prepare for the 2021-2022 school year. The Delta variant of the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness is spreading throughout the United States, including here in Minnesota. That has caused the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health to reassess their guidance for all school districts.
In recent days, including as recently as Wednesday, July 28, the CDC and MDE have recommended a return to wearing masks, particularly in crowded areas (such as schools), to slow down the spread of the new variant.
The CDC and MDE are recommending:
- Students wear a mask regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.
- Students and staff who are not vaccinated get tested regularly, particularly if involved in group activities, such as athletics or clubs.
- Schools not require students and staff who are vaccinated to quarantine if they are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 illness.
ISD 728 supports these recommendations. However, we also understand these are recommendations, and that families should be able to make masking decisions with and for their families.
As a result, masks WILL NOT be required in ISD 728 schools at this time.
We understand the guidelines are put in place to keep students and staff safe, which is among our highest priorities as a School District. We encourage our families to review the recommendations and select the mitigation strategies you feel are best for your student(s). For those who are uncomfortable with being in a learning environment where some may choose not to mask, we will provide an online option.
As previously stated, those who choose not to wear masks will not be treated any differently than masked students. Those who do not wear masks or are not vaccinated will not be segregated in any way.
Additionally, the CDC and MDE recommend anyone who is feeling ill stay home, and report illnesses to your school building staff.
ISD 728 will continue to provide mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing of 3 feet or more when possible, cleaning protocols, ventilation, etc.
Finally and as previously stated, masks will be required on school buses and other forms of public transportation (vans), per the President’s Executive Order. Failure to comply with this federal mandate could result in the loss of significant funding for ISD 728 and thus have a negative impact on our children.
We understand the pandemic is not over, and variables will impact our upcoming learning year. However, we believe that with adaptation, learning from past experience and following the recommendations of medical professionals, we can have students in our buildings five day a week, where we know they are best served by our dedicated teachers and staff.
Thank you for all you do for ISD 728. We appreciate you, and can’t wait to see you this school year.
Dr. Daniel Bittman
ISD 728 Superintendent