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Face coverings/masks required until Feb. 18; shifting to school-by-school model afterward

Parents/caregivers, 

Thank you for your family’s help with our COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Your support is making a difference for our school communities.  

Updates were made to the district’s face covering/mask requirements this week. On Tuesday evening, the school board approved an extension of the current face covering/mask resolution through Feb. 18. This means that staff, students in early childhood through grade 12 and visitors will continue to be required to wear a face covering/mask inside all school facilities until Feb. 18. After Feb. 18, the district will transition to a school-by-school face covering/mask decision-making model based on student and absence rates (specifically, illness and unexcused).  

The school-by-school face covering/mask decision-making model has three tiers: not required (green), strongly recommended (yellow) and required (red). School level absence rates, which will be an average of the five previous days of student and staff absences, are going to be matched to a tier. The red tier, which requires face coverings/masks, is as follows: 
Elementary school: absence level of 6.2% or higher 
Middle school: absence level of 4.9% or higher 
Senior high school: absence level of 7.8% or higher 
Osseo Area Learning Center: absence level of 30% or higher 

Note that the red tier is 50% higher than the 2019 and 2020 student and staff absence levels combined.

Students, families and staff will be informed of any changes in their face covering/mask tier on Fridays beginning Feb. 18. Any changes will then take effect the following Monday. In addition, staff and students who return on day six of a COVID-19 quarantine, regardless of the face covering/mask model, will be required to wear a well-fitted mask through their specified day 10. More information on this process will be added to the COVID-19 Hub mid-February. 

Some added program-specific notes include: Kidstop and Four Star Express school-age care programs will follow the face covering/mask tier of the school that they reside in; after school activities will follow the Minnesota State High School League guidance, which currently strongly recommends face coverings/masks; facility rentals will strongly recommend face coverings/masks; and face coverings/masks will continue to be required on buses through March 16 as required by the Transportation Security Administration. 

As always, Osseo Area Schools is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment. A multitude of efforts are being made to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 so that scholars and staff can continue to attend school as planned. This is a layered effort, meaning it includes a number of strategies and tools. Please take the first step by reviewing the district’s health screening questions each day. Visit the COVID-19 Hub for additional information, including the latest vaccination clinics being held.  

Once again, thank you for your continued support and flexibility. During this challenging time, your efforts to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and communities are appreciated.

COVID-19/Risk Management team 
RiskManagement@district279.org