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Hastings school mask policy to depend on absence rates

Hastings Public Schools will base the need to require masks on individual building absentee...
Hastings Public Schools will base the need to require masks on individual building absentee rates.(Hailey Mach, KSNB)
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:44 AM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Starting Wednesday, Hastings Public Schools will base its mask policy on absence rates on a building-by-building basis.

On Monday night, The Hastings School Board approved using a metric-based measuring system to determine the need for masks.

Superintendent Jeff Schneider told Local4 that the decision to require masks at individual Hastings Public School buildings will depend on a formula:

  • If the three day average student absentee rate at any one building is 12% or more, students, teachers and staff will be required to wear masks for two weeks.
  • Only those absences related to COVID, COVID quarantine or other illnesses will be used in the calculation. Absences due to sporting events or other non-illness reasons will not count against the percentage.
  • If after two weeks, that building’s three day average absentee rate has dropped below 12%, students, teachers and staff will go back to optional mask use.

Schneider said the metric-based policy goes into effect Wednesday, Sept. 15.

The district’s mask policy has evolved in the last two months. At it’s August meeting, the school board decided to make masks optional. Later in the month, the district decided to require masks for students in 6th grade or younger. Then, at the beginning of September, the district decided to require everyone in every building to wear masks due to the increased number of absences.

Schneider said the district has received a great deal of feedback from patrons on the issue. He said Tuesday morning that he hoped people would see the metric-based mask policy as a compromise.

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