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Lincoln schools to require masks for all K-6 students, volunteers and bus riders

COVID-19 mask generic
Posted at 2:00 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 15:00:43-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — According to a release from Lincoln Public Schools, masks will be required for some regardless of vaccination status.

The district said:

Changes to the 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan announced

Lincoln Public Schools released adjustments to the 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan based on the latest information shared by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. The updated protocols will go into effect on Monday, August 9, 2021.

“One of the most important lessons we learned last school year is that our students need to be in school,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “That is our number one priority and we will take whatever measures we can to ensure the majority of our students can stay in school and continue their learning with little interruption.”

The first adjustment in the plan includes requiring all elementary students (prekindergarten through fifth grade), staff, visitors and volunteers to wear a face covering - no matter their vaccination status - while students are present in the elementary school. Face coverings would also be required in middle schools for all visitors and volunteers, all sixth grade students and staff that work with that grade level. In addition, students and staff in the Individual Success Program, Life Skills Program and Independence Academy will also be required to wear face coverings.

“Students under the age of 12 do not have the option to be vaccinated, and therefore we must implement other measures,” added Joel. “We proved last year with our protocols that requiring face coverings works. Our schools are part of the wider community, and we must do our part to slow the spread during the recent increase of local positive cases.”

LPS will continue with the face-covering protocols announced on July 15 for students and staff in grades 7-12, and visitors and volunteers in the high schools:

  • For students in grades 7-12 who are fully vaccinated, face coverings are optional. For students who are not fully vaccinated, face coverings are strongly recommended.
  • For staff who work with students in grades 7-12, face coverings are optional for those who are fully vaccinated and required for those who are not vaccinated.
  • Visitors and volunteers at the high schools will be required to wear a face covering until they show proof of vaccination when they check in.

The LLCHD has advised that students and staff who are wearing face coverings will not need to quarantine if exposed to a person testing positive with COVID-19. Students will be able to continue in-person learning and this allows families to keep their schedules instead of staying home with quarantined children.

Another adjustment relates to those riding buses. Face coverings will be required on all buses transporting students in prekindergarten through sixth grade, the Individual Success Program, Life Skills Program and Independence Academy. For buses transporting students in grades 7-12, face coverings are optional for those that are fully vaccinated, and for unvaccinated students strongly recommended. Staff who are not vaccinated on buses will be required to wear a face covering. Per the U.S. Department of Transportation and the City of Lincoln, students who ride StarTran buses will be required to wear face coverings.

LPS will continuously review and update the 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan throughout the school year as the risk of COVID-19 spread in our community changes. Any changes to the 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan will be communicated through the LPS website (lps.org/safereturn), email and social media.

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