We need our schools to continue to be safe places for our students and teachers, educators, and school leaders. This means requiring masks for students and teachers (following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Minnesota Department of Health, and Minnesota Department of Education’s guidance)—it was the right decision to require masks this school year and the school board should be commended for getting our students back into our schools for in-person learning while also providing families with the option to continue distance learning.
Going forward I would like to help ISD 197 build on its strengths and successes from the last year and help keep children in classrooms this year. To do this, we need to continue the mitigation strategies that were put in place last year, including masking. We also need to support vaccinations for teachers, staff, and students. A higher vaccination rate will keep our students in school and avoid future disruptions. I hope that ISD 197 continues to support the ISD 197 COVID-19 Data Dashboard and school leaders host community conversations that allow families to listen and ask questions. It’s extremely difficult to know what the future holds given that we are still learning about COVID-19 and its impact. Any future decision should prioritize the safety and well being of those who are vulnerable while doing all that we can to support safe in-person learning.
- Jon Vaupel