GIPS announces 2021-22 Safe Return to School Plan

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 2:02 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Public Schools announced the 2021-2022 Safe Return to School plan on Friday with the plan going into effect on August 1.

The district released a proposed draft of the plan in early July and requested feedback from staff, parents, students and community members. GIPS had 688 people respond to the survey on the proposed plan. Of the 688 people who responded, 82.7%  said they were comfortable with the proposed plan, which stated that masks would be optional unless the community meets a threshold of 50 cases per 100,000. 13.3 percent said they would support masking of elementary-aged students due to them not yet having the opportunity to receive the vaccine.

“I want to thank our families, staff, students and community members for providing their feedback on the proposed Safe Return to School Plan. We heard you, and we are thankful for your voice,” GIPS Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover said. “The finalized plan is reflective of the feedback we received, but also balances the new information and concerns about COVID-19 variants. The plan takes into consideration the ever-evolving challenges of this pandemic. We are confident in this plan, and we are excited to start the school year,” Dr. Grover said.

Under the plan effective August 1, masks are still encouraged, supported, and optional unless “Substantial Transmission”, as defined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), occurs in Hall County as indicated by total new cases.

GIPS will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in our community. The safety threshold will take into consideration data that directly impacts our schools, such as illnesses, absences, and/or hospitalizations.

In accordance with Federal law, masks will still be required when riding district-provided transportation of students.

Continued high transmission of COVID-19 could require heightened safety protocols as recommended by the GIPS superintendent, Board of Education, and Central District Health Department.

For visitors, masks are required indoors during the school day.

GIPS will continue to gather research and engage with the Central District Health Department and local medical professionals to help ensure a safe school environment.

“We are so proud of how accountable and responsible our staff, students and families have been with following safety protocols to help provide the safest environment possible,” Dr. Grover said. “In GIPS, we continue to work toward Every Student, Every Day, A Success, and we look forward to continuing that mission in this new school year.”

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