PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — Papillion-La Vista Community Schools distributed information regarding rules about COVID-19 in schools on Wednesday. The guidelines for parents and families are bound to confuse some, as there are different conditions that apply to mask-wearing that depend on which grades are involved plus isolation protocols that are dependent on the status of an individual's own symptoms and vaccination status.
"... it is important to remember that there are protocols in place to put masks back on if the data supports doing so," read the letter before describing the more specific criteria.
At the elementary level, masks will be required when there are two or more positive COVID cases in the same classroom for a minimum of 10 days. There are 17 elementary school classrooms that are currently being required to mask for the 10 day period.
There appears to be outdated information on the PLCS websitethat indicates masks are required for all elementary school students regardless of positive cases per classroom.
For elementary, middle and high schools, PLCS stipulates that, "If school absentee rate for illness reaches a 3-day average of 7% or higher, masks will be required for a minimum of 10 days. At the end of the 10 days, masks will no longer be required as long as the 3-day average leading up to day 10 is below 7%. If the 3-day average is above 7% on day 10, masks will remain required until a 3-day average is below 7%."
Masks may be required as early as Thursday, since "the two-day average on Monday-Tuesday was higher than 7%."
On Wednesday evening, PLCS notified recipients of the same email list that masks will be required at La Vista Middle School effective Thursday. The earliest date that La Vista Middle School would be eligible to drop the requirement would be Jan. 23, as long as the three day absence rate for illness leading up to Jan. 23 is below 7%.
The requirement applies to PLCS transportation, Kids Club, inside the school; but masks are not required at recess or during PE.
In terms of isolation guidelines, students at any grade level can return to school with a mask after five days of isolation but must be symptom-free or have an improvement in symptoms, and must be fever-free and feeling better for one day. After day 10, masks will only be recommended.
In terms of exposure to COVID, the guidelines differ depending on vaccination status. Fully vaccinated individuals must monitor symptoms but can be at school unless symptoms develop, in which the individual then must isolate and get a test and mask for 10 days.
For unvaccinated individuals who have been exposed to COVID, students must stay at home to monitor symptoms for five days and it is recommended to test if no symptoms develop by day five. If testing negative or symptoms have gone away, they can return to normal activities as long as they wear a mask for 10 days.