In an announcement to the Faribault School District's Facebook page this morning, effective today, face coverings will be "strongly recommended but not required" inside all Faribault Public School buildings. The requirement to wear a face-covering inside the school buildings does not change the Federal mandate of masks being required on school buses.

Faribault Public Schools families and staff,

On Feb. 22 the school board approved the following change to our health and safety protocols: Effective Feb. 23, face coverings will be strongly recommended but not required for students and staff in early childhood through adult education. We are making this change amid a dramatic decline in COVID-19 cases in our schools and Rice County over the last two weeks. This change also comes at a time when we have greater availability of vaccines, boosters, and testing than we had at the beginning of the school year. COVID-19 tests are available at each school office, upon request.

Federal transportation mandates are still in effect, which means face coverings are still required on school buses for all students and adults. Face coverings are still required by the Minnesota Department of Health for an additional five days for students and staff returning to school or work from isolation. MDH strongly recommends face coverings for anyone who is unvaccinated.

Mandatory masking would go back into effect at the building level should the rate of influenza-like illness among students at a single school reach five percent. This information is available on our COVID-19 Dashboard. Schools are prepared to temporarily transition to distance learning should staff absences at a single building reach 15 percent.

The decision on whether to wear or not wear face coverings at school are individual choices that parents, students, and staff will make for themselves. Whatever decisions members of our school community make, we urge students, staff, and families to respect each other and not engage in bullying, harassment, or confrontation.

Individual responsibility remains a key component to our mitigation efforts. Students and staff should self-screen daily and stay home if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Students or staff who test positive are still required to isolate for five days from the date of their positive test and will be required to wear a face-covering for an additional five days.

We will continue to monitor the ever-changing COVID-19 situation and take appropriate measures, as necessary, to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and staff.

Sincerely,

Todd Sesker, Superintendent

Superintendent Todd Sesker also wrote that face-coverings could be required again if positive COVID-19 cases reached a certain percentage.

Mandatory masking would go back into effect at the building level should the rate of influenza-like illness among students at a single school reach five percent. - Todd Sesker

According to the TSA website, the organization that oversees Federal Transportation in the US, they have extended the face mask requirement for all transportation networks, including public transportation, through March 18, 2022.

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