Superior schools return to mandated masks
65 students, 20 staff tested positive for COVID-19 the first week back from winter break.
SUPERIOR — All staff, students and visitors in Superior School District buildings will be required to wear masks beginning Wednesday, Jan. 12. The move comes in response to the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 since winter break, according to an email District Administrator Amy Starzecki sent to families Tuesday, Jan. 11. It affects both classes and after school activities.
“Above all, the priority of the board and of the district has been and continues to be keeping in person learning open for all students,” Starzecki said.
Masks were optional for students who were eligible for COVID-19 vaccination at the start of the school year, but mandatory for elementary students who could not yet get the vaccine. When school resumed Jan. 3, masks were made optional for all students and staff because vaccines were available for all ages.
During the first week back in the classroom, Jan. 3-7, the district had 65 students and 20 staff test positive for the virus . The district plan calls for mitigation strategies, such as masks, to be put in place after two to three weeks of a trend in cases.
“However, given what has occurred across the country regarding the new Omicron variant, rates are predicted to continue to increase in our community and it is likely we have not seen the peak in cases yet,” Starzecki said.
In order to be proactive, they are making the change to mandatory masks. The move will also affect school activities. Spectators, officials, staff, coaches and advisors must wear masks at all times. Students involved in meetings, practices and competitions must wear a mask when they are not actively practicing or competing. That includes when they are on the bench, on the pool deck, in locker rooms and classrooms.
“Our goal is to ensure in-person learning for all students continues,” Starzecki said, and wearing masks is one way our community can support our schools staying open for in person learning.
The district is scheduled to open a COVID-19 testing clinic at Northern Lights Elementary School Wednesday for staff, students and their families. Due to a statewide shortage of rapid tests, only PCR test will be available. The clinic will be located inside Door 12, where buses pick up and drop off students. The clinic will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Appointments can be made online at https://register.covidconnect.wi.gov/ .