Southern Door Schools Loosen Mask Requirements

The wearing of facial coverings became optional for most students and staff members in the Southern Door School District on Monday, Nov. 1.

Southern Door Superintendent Chris Peterson noted that in August, the school board gave him instructions to monitor COVID-19 and variant case levels in the district and authorized him to change masking requirements when appropriate. 

On Friday, Peterson said students in kindergarten through 12th grade will not be required to wear masks unless they are a close contact to a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Our actual case numbers are low,” Peterson said. “We only have three active student cases and two active cases in adults. When Monday [Nov. 1] comes, some of those people will be back [from quarantine] already, so that number will be even lower.”

The district has also taken a step that neighboring districts have not tried: checking students’ temperature when they arrive at school. A temperature of 100.4 degrees will cause the district to send a student home for testing, but the district will double- and triple-check students or staff members who show up with a temperature greater than 100. 

“That’s one of our screeners,” Peterson said. “It’s been very successful in keeping case levels low.” 

Peterson consults with his team of principals when considering protocol changes. He has also received input from an epidemiologist who resides in the district. Peterson would not provide the name or contact information for that expert, saying that “she’s not an employee of the district. She’s a parent who has that experience and is offering input when I need it.”

Peterson said the main goal is to keep kids in school if possible. 

“We have kids that are healthy and are a ‘close contact,’” Peterson said. “As long as they’re masked, they can stay in school if they’re healthy.” 

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