Itasca County K-12 Schools ‘Strongly Recommending’ Masks this Year

Itasca County has seen 45 new positive cases in the last 7 days, according to health officials.

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn.- Many K thru 12 schools in Itasca County are now strongly recommending students mask up for the school year, as the County deals with the highest level of community transmission of any Northeastern Minnesota county.

Itasca County has seen 45 new positive cases in the last 7 days, according to health officials.

School leaders say they can only go as far as urging students to wear masks since that’s all the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health have done so far. 

“Just looking at the flu from last year, that masks had an impact on that and so we’re just gonna encourage good behavior,” said Matt Grose,  Superintendent of Bigfork and Grand Rapids Schools ISD 318.

According to Grose, state guidelines fell short of letting schools mandate masks, unlike last year when they advised that masks be required. 

“And that created environment in which we could operate both from an enforcement perspective and from a legal perspective. We don’t have that environment right now,” said Grose. 

“That enforcement becomes very very challenging in an environment where there is not any type of cover at the state level,” he said. 

School leaders say they anticipate receiving rapid COVID tests, which can be performed at the school or sent home and get results the same day.

Meanwhile, vaccine rates have bumped up more than 50 percent in Itasca County as fall gets closer.

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