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Rochester Public Schools update masking policy amid rising COVID-19 cases

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 3:25 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – With a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the community, Rochester Public Schools (RPS) is updating its masking policy for classrooms.

RPS sent the announcement out to RPS families Monday that said beginning Monday, May 9, 2022, when 15% of staff and students are absent in one classroom with either symptoms of COVID-19 or confirmed cases of COVID-19, masks will be required indoors for the students and staff of that classroom.

“We’re doing a pretty good job at controlling the spread at a whole school level, but we’re still seeing some places where it’s spreading in a classroom,” RPS Superintendent Kent Pekel said. “And people are really reluctant to move to distance learning. Teachers wants their kids in school. Parents want their kids in school, and so what we said today is your building doesn’t need to wear masks, because you’re under that 5%, but your classroom is ticking over that 15%, then we are going to mandate those masks just in your class.”

The decision for masking requirements at the classroom level was made to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom and to avoid transitioning students to distance learning.

RPS and the District COVID team will continue to monitor case data and will reevaluate the classroom’s need for masking after two weeks.

Rapid antigen test kits are available to students through their school upon request.

District thresholds for classroom, grade level, and buildings are outlined in the Safe and Open Schools Plan.

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