Mask up

Eastern Carver County Schools announced Nov. 23 that masks will be required for all staff, students and visitors throughout the day inside district buildings beginning on Monday, Nov. 29. Students in after-school activities will be able to remove the masks while in active participation.

While some local districts are taking a pause with in-person learning, Eastern Carver County Schools said it will continue to prioritize the preservation of students in the building.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 29, these changes will be in effect:

  • Masking for all individuals -- staff, students, and community members -- age 2-plus who are in ECCS buildings for school or attending or participating in other district-related activities. Students who are performing or playing in after school sports and activities will have the ability to remove masks when actively participating.
  • Assigned lunchroom seating at the elementary and middle school levels.
  • Increased use of "pods" at the elementary level to keep students in the same small or classroom groups.
  • Increased use of plexiglass for small group and one-on-one instruction.

"As we head into Thanksgiving break and a holiday season that includes spending time with family, friends, and increased travel, your partnership in reducing the spread of COVID-19 is more important than ever," superintendent Lisa Sayles-Adams said in a press release to families. "Please make sure your children come to school with their mask -- and an extra, in case. Please reinforce with them how important it is they wear it, and to wear it properly when in school. Monitor your children for symptoms, and keep them home when sick."

The district said the impact of COVID is being felt in many ways. There were 128 positive cases confirmed in students between Nov. 4 and 17 with more than 1,000 students in active quarantine as of Nov. 18.

Staffing shortages with substitute teachers and paraprofessionals, and bus drivers are challenges here in Eastern Carver County Schools as well.

"Increasing mitigation protocols supports our efforts to keep our staff healthy and able to serve our school communities, as well," Sayles-Adams said.