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D60 BOARD OF EDUCATION REMOVES MASK MANDATE
In a special meeting Tuesday, the D60 Board of Education passed a resolution that makes mask wearing in all District 60 schools and facilities optional.
Although mask wearing is strongly recommended – and those who wish to remain masked will continue to be supported -- students, staff and visitors to District schools and facilities no longer have to be masked, effectively immediately.
On January 26, the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment issued a revised Public Health Order that modified its Mask Mandate by giving local school boards of education the authority to bypass the mandate and manage COVID pandemic and mitigation protocols within its schools.
Since that time, there has been a significant decrease in local COVID cases, transmissions and hospitalizations, noted Andy Burns, Executive Director of Intervention and Student Support Services. Executive Director Burns also referenced new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that relax mask-wearing rules throughout the country.
Assistant Superintendent Eric DeCesaro told the Board that the District’s modified COVID-19 Mitigation Plan is designed to give leadership more flexibility in addressing any COVID-related issues moving forward.
At any time, the Mitigation Plan can be brought back before the Board for potential action.
As modified, The Mitigation Plan now includes the following language: “Without routine case investigation and contact tracing in place, new outbreaks may be difficult to identify and outbreak thresholds challenging to implement. If schools identify increases in absenteeism, especially due to respiratory illness, or an increase in reported cases of COVID-19, D60 will contact the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment and work closely with the health department to determine if an outbreak is suspected and if an outbreak response strategies are needed to control transmission.”
In endorsing the resolution, Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso said that while “the COVID numbers are declining and in our favor,” numbers that reflect the social/emotional impact the pandemic has had on students are much more difficult to gauge.
Two years of mask wearing, Superintendent Macaluso added, have had a significant bearing in the way students are taught and on the way children interact with each other.
She encouraged the Board to look at the “entire context of what our kids are dealing with.”
The modified COVID-19 Mitigation Plan and Resolution are available for viewing at the links below.