Eastern Carver County Schools Community,
I am writing today, as promised, to update you on our Safe Learning Plan as we look to the start of school. As I previously shared, district leadership have been monitoring the data on a daily basis and the numbers right now are concerning. COVID cases have continued to rise and this week crossed the threshold to require masks for our students ages 2 to 12 years old, which includes children in Early Childhood and Family Education through 6th grade.
I have spoken at length about our core values of health, safety, and a quality education. That is the foundation of our Safe Learning Plan. My commitment has been to use our local data to inform any changes we have to our mitigation strategies. Our local data has moved into the substantial category and stayed in that range for several days. That tells us that in order to preserve in-person learning while keeping our students and staff safe, our youngest learners need to be wearing masks. We continue to strongly recommend that all students regardless of vaccination status, wear masks, and will require masks for students ages 2 to 12 years old.
I want to be clear that this does not mean our learners will be wearing masks for the rest of the year or even the semester. We will continue to follow the data and should case numbers decline, we will shift our approach. Our mask requirement for students under the age of 12 will be in place starting September 7, the first day of school. We will keep that mask requirement in place through October 1, at which point we will update families on whether an extension is necessary.
You can follow the data, and see updates, on our Safe Learning Plan page. I also want to be clear that while we encourage testing as a means of limiting the spread, we have not and will not mandate testing for students.
I know the issue of masks is dividing our community. What unites us is our love for and dedication to our children. What we all want is for our children to be together, in-person, learning and growing this school year. By working in partnership, doing what we can to keep ourselves and our families safe, I know we can make that happen. Together, we will make this an incredible year for our school community.