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Rogers School District won't require masks for 2021-22 school year

by Mary Jordan | July 21, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.
Charles Lee, general administration assistant superintendent, shares the Rogers School District covid-19 back to school plan Tuesday at a School Board meeting. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Mary Jordan)

ROGERS -- The School District won't require staff and students to wear face coverings for the 2021-22 school year, administrators said.

Charles Lee, general administration assistant superintendent, shared the district's guidelines and protocols for combating the covid-19 virus Tuesday at the board's monthly meeting.

The school district will recommend staff members and students who haven't been vaccinated wear face coverings at schoo, but won't require them, he said.

Act 1002 will go into effect July 28 and will end all state face covering mandates, Lee said.

"The use of a face mask, face shield, or other face covering shall not be a condition for entry, education, or services," the act reads.

The recommendation is also in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health recommendations, Lee said.

No punitive actions will be taken against anyone who chooses not to wear a face covering at school, he said.

Students or staff members who test positive for covid-19 will still be required to isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms or 10 days from the test date if asymptomatic, Lee said.

The district will continue to report all positive cases of covid-19 for staff and students to the Arkansas Department of Health, according to supporting documents.

Contact tracing will also still occur, Lee said.

Probable close contacts who have been vaccinated won't have to quarantine but will be informed of the probable close contact so they can monitor their health for any covid-19 signs or symptoms, he said. Individuals should be tested for the virus if signs or symptoms appear, he said.

Probable close contacts who haven't been vaccinated won't have to quarantine if both the probable close contact and the individual who tested positive with covid-19 they came in contact with are both wearing masks, Lee said. Probable close contacts should also monitor themselves for signs and symptoms of the virus, he said.

Quarantine guidelines will be followed if the probable close contact or person who tested positive for covid-19 isn't wearing a face covering, Lee said.

Probable close contacts who have to quarantine must start a 10-day quarantine from the last day of close contact with a positive individual, according to supporting documents. A seven-day quarantine will be required from the last day of close contact with a positive individual with a negative test result that was administered on day five, six or seven of quarantine.

The district will continue to remain informed of guidance from the CDC, the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Department of Education for future decision-making in response to the pandemic, Lee said.

"We want to get back to normal as much as we can," he said.

Nathan Gairhan, board president, asked how many teachers have been vaccinated against the covid-19 virus.

The district doesn't have precise numbers, Lee said, noting as many as 85% of district teachers are vaccinated.

Rogers Public Schools will also continue to offer on-site and virtual learning models for K-12 students, Lee said.

The Virtual Learning building is on track to open Aug. 16 for the first day of school, he said.

The district purchased the property at 605 W. Dyke Road in March for $575,000 to provide a location for the district's online learning program, according to administrators. The building will house staff supporting K-12 students participating in online learning and a location for on-site testing for students.

The board unanimously approved more than $600,000 in upgrades for the building in June.

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The Rogers School Board meets the third Tuesday of each month in the district administration office at 500 W. Walnut St. at 5 p.m.

Source: Rogers Public Schools

Print Headline: Rogers School District won't require masks for 2021-22 school year

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