GIPS drops mask policy for staff

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 7:15 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Public Schools is dropping their mask policy for fully vaccinated teachers and staff.

“It’ll just be kind of nice to see people’s whole face again and there’s some people that are new to the district this year and I really haven’t seen their whole face,” said Howard Elementary Fifth Grade Teacher Jason Weseman.

But only under one condition.

“As long as staff is not working with students,” said GIPS Associate Superintendent Robin Dexter.

They can take their masks off when they’re around other vaccinated staff members.

Many might be wondering when teachers will be away from students to benefit from the new policy.

“When we do curriculum developments, professional development, teachers will just be with teachers, so they can be without the masks and those groups, so that will be a big change and they can be in-person,” Dexter said.

Fifth Grade Teacher Jason Weseman is excited to get a break from wearing masks.

“We’ve done so much work this year keeping kids in school and keeping things clean and following some of the new protocols, so it’s exciting to see that we’ve finally kind of graduated to that next level,” Weseman s8id.

The district took this next step to influence others.

“We really want to encourage people to be vaccinated and one incentive is if you’re vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask,” Dexter said.

Weseman is hopeful for the future with the new policy.

“I look forward to the day when we can actually get back to normal but this is a step in the right direction,” Weseman told Local4 News.

This summer is a trial run to see if the district can continue the new policy into the next school year.

They’re also waiting for more students to get vaccinated before they can even think about allowing students to go mask free. However, they do expect to discuss future plans in August.

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