In a message to families, Superintendent Mark Lane shared information regarding the 2021-2022 school year. On July 9, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance for K-12 schools. This new guidance communicates the following key takeaways:
Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in fall 2021 is a priority.
Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.
Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated. Consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings, when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask-wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as indoor masking.
Screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.
Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care.
Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, this guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including students, teachers, staff, and members of their households.
COVID-19 prevention strategies remain critical to protecting people–including students, teachers, and staff–who are not fully vaccinated, especially in areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels.
Localities should monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks to guide decisions on the level of layered prevention strategies (e.g., physical distancing, screening testing).
This CDC guidance communicates, “Achieving high levels of COVID-19 vaccination among eligible students as well as teachers, staff, and household members is one of the most critical strategies to help schools safely resume full operations. Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”
People 12 years old and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Individuals wishing to be fully vaccinated by the first day of school should be acting now to complete the two-dose cycle of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Here are the recommended timelines for full vaccination by the first day of school:
August 23 – Students’ first day of the 2021-2022 school year
August 9 – Last day to receive the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna or the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in order to be fully vaccinated by the first day of school.
July 19 – Last day to receive the first dose of Pfizer vaccine in order to be fully vaccinated by the first day of school.
July 12 – Last day to receive the first dose of Moderna vaccine in order to be fully vaccinated by the first day of school.
The District encourages all staff and families to talk with their health care provider about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lane remarked, “We will use this guidance from the CDC in our planning for the 2021-2022 school year and will follow the most recent guidance to the best of our ability.”
Important August Dates
August 2 – Registration email sent to parents and guardians
August 10 – 8th grade football equipment checkout, 3:30 PM, DMS
August 11 – 7th grade football equipment checkout, 3:30 PM, DMS
August 10-12 – Middle school football camp (grades 5-8), 5:00-7:30 PM, DHS practice field
August 18 – DHS open house (grades 10-12), 6:30-8:30 PM
August 19 – DHS 9th grade orientation, 8:15 am-1:00 pm
August 19 – WSECC open house (preschool), 3:30-5:30 pm
August 19 – JCE open house (grades TK-2), 4:00-6:00 pm
August 19 – CLE open house (grades 3-4), 4:30-6:30 pm
August 19 – DMS open house (grades 5-8) 5:00-7:00 pm
August 23 – First day of school
Print copies of the 2021-2022 Decorah CSD Activities Calendar will be available at the open houses.
In closing, Lane shared,“Enjoy the rest of summer break. We look forward to welcoming staff back on August 17 and students back on August 23.”