Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction continues to be a priority.
Vaccination is 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 enable extracurricular activities and sports.
CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (ages 2 years and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
New CDC guidance has reduced the recommended time for isolation and quarantine periods to five days. For details see CDC’s page on Quarantine and Isolation.
In addition to universal indoor masking, CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms 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 reopen while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple prevention strategies, such as screening testing.
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 should be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care.
This guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies to protect students, teachers, staff, visitors, and other members of their households and support in-person learning.
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).
In his weekly message to families, Superintendent Mark Lane shared, “Schools and local public health agencies just received this updated guidance yesterday. As we have throughout the pandemic, we will work with Winneshiek County Public Health to understand the guidance and will work collaboratively to protect the health and safety of our learning environments.”
Lane added, “January and February are busy months for student activities. You can find information and schedules for our activities through our website. I encourage everyone to support our students as they engage in our diverse extra-curricular activity offerings.”