All Superior Students Required To Mask Up Again Wednesday

According to the Superintendent, going back to masking is the best way to get ahead of the spread and go back to the low transmission they saw from September to December.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Starting Wednesday, masks are back for everyone in Superior Schools — less than a week after making masks optional when cases were low enough among students and staff. But that’s not the case anymore, and Superintendent Amy Starzecki said this change could happen, basing it all on the numbers.

It may seem like a quick turnaround, but Starzecki says more positive cases came back with kids after winter break who were exposed outside of school — and it’s likely they have not seen the peak in cases yet.

So, she said, going back to masking is the best way to get ahead of the spread and go back to the low transmission they saw from September to December.

“Ultimately we want to do everything we can in our schools to keep rates low so that we can keep in-person learning and if this is one small thing we can do to keep our schools up and running then I think it’s easy to do,” she said.

According to Starzecki, they decided to make masks optional at the beginning of the year for students eligible for the vaccine.

Masks were still required for grades six and under who were not eligible yet.

Last week when those age groups were able to get shots, the district lifted the mask requirement.

But the situation changed as test results came back after break. Between Saturday and Monday 20 students and 7 staff members in the district have tested positive for the virus.

So Starzecki says requiring all students to mask up again was the best way to keep the community spread from forcing students to go back to distance learning.

“We don’t have a lot of transmission within our classroom settings where students are transmitting between students or staff between students, the majority of our cases really tend to be exposed outside of school, like a parent or a sibling,” said the Superintendent. “Kids are really resilient, I think what’s harder is the transition between learning models, that is really hard.”

“I think, y’know I have kids and I think it’s really easy tomorrow to say ‘don’t forget your mask’,” she said.

Starzecki says the district’s COVID response plan is always subject to change as they monitor how the virus spreads within the district’s 8 campuses not necessarily the spread throughout the City of Superior.

“It’s not unusual to see a spike in cases after a break I think this new variant has created an additional complication,” Starzecki said. “We will look at whether they become optional again if our rates take a trend and stay at the approximate level that they were this fall.”

The Superintendent reminds parents that they regularly post the transmission rates within schools online.

She says it’s important the public has access to that information so the district can be as transparent as possible with their decisions.

Meanwhile, masks remain required at schools in Duluth’s Independent School District 709, as part of their Safe Learning Plan. Both Districts say there are no plans now to transition to hybrid or virtual learning in any way.

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