Gibraltar Considers Mask Mandate for Elementary Students

To start the school year at the least, Gibraltar schools will require prekindergarten through sixth-grade students to wear masks.

Superintendent Tina Van Meer said that under the protocols she proposed to the school board July 26, 13-year-old sixth-grade students who are vaccinated would need to wear a mask. That’s because teachers and staff members would have difficulty differentiating among vaccinated 13-year-olds, unvaccinated 13-year-olds and 12-year-olds, who do not yet have a COVID-19 vaccination available to them.

Starting the week of July 26, Van Meer requires teachers in the elementary side of the building to wear masks. Although masks will be optional by student and parent choice in grades seven through 12, teachers or administrators who walk from the secondary side of the building into the elementary side will need to put on a mask.

Van Meer also said quarantine and contact tracing will not be required of mask-wearing students or vaccinated students. The district receives the vaccination records of all students. 

The district will not count students passing each other in a hallway as a “close contact” because the standard that Gibraltar is currently observing is 15 minutes at a three-foot distance or closer.

“This is an evolving set of protocols, and as vaccination eligibility changes and as conditions change, these protocols should change,” said Stephen Seyfer, Gibraltar School Board president.