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Hastings public schools now requires masks for all grades

Masks are now required at Alcott Elementary and all other Hastings Public School buildings as...
Masks are now required at Alcott Elementary and all other Hastings Public School buildings as of Thursday, Sept. 2.(KSNB)
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 5:04 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 5:06 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Citing a significant increase in the number of students testing positive, Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Schneider announced Wednesday that as of Thursday, Sept. 2, all students, staff and visitors must wear a mask inside school buildings and buses.

Schneider’s announcement was based on what he called, “...a significant increase in the number of students testing positive for COVID and a high absenteeism rate.” Schneider said the decision would be reviewed no later than September 17.

The mask requirement now includes all students from Kindergarten through 12th grade.

The district’s policy on masks has changed twice in the last month. On August 9, the HPS Board of Education voted to recommend, but not require, face masks for students, teachers and staff. The board however did give Schneider discretion to make changes in the policy when he felt necessary. Most school districts allow superintendents to make changes to account for rapidly changing COVID conditions.

Just before school started August 23, Schneider announced that students in the sixth grade and younger would be required to wear masks. The reason Schneider gave at the time was that students in those grades were not eligible for vaccination.

On Wednesday, Schneider announced that everyone, students, teachers and staff included, must wear a mask in all HPS buildings.

Here is his full statement:

“Beginning Thursday, September 2nd, the Hastings Public Schools will require all students, staff members, and visitors to wear a face covering in all HPS buildings and buses. This is due to a significant increase in the number of students testing positive for COVID and a high absenteeism rate. This decision will be re-evaluated no later than September 17th.”

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