Face masks are now optional at West Delaware.
The West Delaware School Board met in special session on Saturday afternoon and vote to make masks optional in most situations for the rest of the school year.
The decision comes after the school district received new guidance on Friday afternoon from the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Iowa Department of Human Services and the Iowa Department of Education.
Requirements from state officials early in the year required quarantine if students were exposed to COVID-19 regardless of masks. That changed in October, with quarantine no longer required if both parties were wearing masks.
On Friday, the new guidance from the State recommended that exposed children should no longer be required to stay home, regardless of mask usage.
Therefore, the West Delaware School Board on Saturday voted that masks will be optional in most situations at West Delaware effective immediately. However, masks will continue to be recommended in school settings and other prevention strategies will remain in place.
In a letter to West Delaware families on Saturday night, the school district says they realize some people are more comfortable if everyone is wearing a mask, so they are offering an option. For the rest of the school year, parents can choose to have their child attend school in-person on site or remotely via Zoom. If parents choose to continue in-person on site, they do not need to notify anyone. If parents choose the remote learning option, they must notify their building principal no later than Tuesday, May 18th.
Here is the notice sent to parents Saturday evening:
Since the beginning of the pandemic, information has been rapidly changing and there have been strong opinions on much of it. Our school has based our decisions not on opinions but on guidance and requirements from Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Human Services, and Iowa Department of Education.
Our goals have been to keep students in school safely and to avoid the risk of quarantine.
Our requirements from state officials early in the year required quarantine for exposure regardless of masks. That changed in October to remove quarantine orders if both parties were masked.
Friday afternoon we received new guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Iowa Department of Human Services, and the Iowa Department of Education, that stated in part:
“We are concurrently revising our COVID-19 guidance for school and child care 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….To that end, while we acknowledge that some parents may want their child to continue to wear a cloth face covering for reasons that make sense for their family or that child’s individual health condition, we urge schools and child care settings to provide parents and students with the option to make their own decision about mask usage.”
Due to this recommendation from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Human Services, our School Board voted this evening that masks will be optional in most situations at WD effective immediately. However, masks continue to be recommended in school settings, and other prevention strategies will remain in place.
We realize that some people are more comfortable if everyone is wearing a mask, so we are offering an option. You may choose for your child to engage in the rest of the school on site. Or, you may choose for your child to engage in the rest of the school year through remote learning by zooming into your classes instead of attending on site. The same rules for attendance, participation, and assignment completion will apply if you choose this option. Students will need to attend EVERY class via Zoom, and to assist the teacher with planning you must commit to this until the end of the school year. Students are welcome to continue with athletics and other after school activities.
If you choose to continue attending on site, you do not need to notify anyone.
If you choose to work remotely, you must notify your building principal no later than Tuesday, May 18.
We are hopeful that everyone will work together to ensure a happy and healthy end of the school year for everyone! We have so much to celebrate!