Mask mandate begins today for West Branch
BELOIT — Masks will be mandatory for students and staff starting today.
In a one-call issued Saturday, schools Superintendent Micki Egli said the district is returning to required face coverings for all K-12 students and staff for all indoor activities in an attempt to maintain in-person instruction. Masks are already required to be worn on buses per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Masks will not be required during lunch and physical education.
The issue will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
“We need students in school in order to educate them properly,” she said. “Providing [students and staff] with masks will ensure that they are here as much as possible.”
Egli said there have been 34 students and 10 staff members test positive for COVID, with 161 students quarantined., since school started Sept. 8. Compared to last year, the district did not have 161 students quarantined until November 2020 and 34 positive student cases until January 2021.
“We are hitting higher numbers at a much more rapid pace than we experienced previously,” she said, noting community trend data shows the numbers will increase over the next few weeks.
Egli said masking will reduce the number of students needing to be quarantined since the Ohio Department of Health does not require the quarantine of asymptomatic students who are either masked or vaccinated after a close contact with a positive case in a school building.