Mandatory Face Mask Requirement for All Students, Staff and Visitors - UPDATED SEPTEMBER 3, 2021
September 3, 2021
Dear Thompson Community:
In its regular meeting on August 18, due to rising COVID-19 case counts, the Thompson School District Board of Education voted to institute a mandatory face mask requirement for students, staff and visitors in grade levels Pre-K through 8, effective August 23. As part of that decision, Board members committed to receiving regular updates from staff regarding relevant data and other information from county health partners. That process provides the Board with information that can be used to consider future adjustments to the policy, in accordance with guidance from local and state health officials.
During this past Wednesday’s regular meeting, the Board received an update that contained the latest data on how the pandemic is affecting our schools, including additional information from officials at the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. This morning, the Board met in a special meeting to further discuss the topic and review the information that they had been given. As a result of that discussion, the Board voted to extend the face mask mandate to all students, staff and visitors in grade levels 9 through 12, as well as in all remaining TSD buildings. This means that the mandatory face mask policy will now apply to all students, staff and visitors in all TSD schools (PreK through 12th grade) as well as all other district buildings.
Why Was This Adjustment to the Face Mask Policy Made?
In the update that was provided to Board members, Larimer County health professionals stated that COVID-19 infections are impacting our high school students at a significant level that is continuing to expand. Officials have also detected rising numbers of positive COVID-19 cases within our community at-large in recent weeks. Guidance from health officials indicates that applying the new face mask mandate throughout the high school level will help to decrease the number of infections in our schools.
Schools Are Moving Into “Outbreak” Status
Evidence of this growth in COVID-19 cases is being experienced in several TSD schools, including Loveland High School, where district staff were notified yesterday by Larimer County that the number of new infections has moved the campus into “Outbreak” status. Students, staff and visitors in the building are required to wear face masks beginning today. Last evening, “Outbreak” status was also issued by the county at Mountain View High School, Lucile Erwin Middle School and Coyote Ridge Elementary School.
Face Mask Usage Helps Keep Students Out of Quarantine
In addition to helping decrease infection rates, county officials have stated that the wearing of face masks in a school setting is also a major factor in determining if and when a student needs to quarantine if they are exposed to an infected individual. Although quarantines will continue to be used as needed, by applying the face mask mandate to our high schools, it will help keep students in school and out of quarantine unless absolutely necessary.
How Long Will The Face Mask Mandate Be In Place?
As before, the mandate is open to modification as deemed necessary or appropriate. Board members will continue to receive regular updates from staff regarding relevant data and other information from county health partners. Please note that adjustments to TSD’s COVID-19 safety procedures may be required in the future based on local and state guidance.
The face mask mandate for high school students will go into effect at the start of the school day this Tuesday, September 7, 2021, which also extends to all district buildings and facilities. In the meantime, students and staff members are welcome and are encouraged to wear face masks in order to help ensure safety for themselves and others. The face mask policy continues to be in effect for all PreK-8th grade students, staff and visitors.
Thank you very much for your support and patience as we continue to navigate these unique challenges together.
Thompson School District