MASK AND QUARANTINE FAQ
Mountain View High School
West Ada School Community,
The introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic into our schools has forced West Ada School District to be agile in our planning and safety protocols. Going into the current school year, our goal was to begin as normal as possible, with flexible mitigating measures in place that allowed our students to stay in-person learning five days per week. Unfortunately, the Delta variant is wreaking havoc on our state, local community, and is substantially disrupting our daily operations. As cases and hospitalizations are near record levels, West Ada has deemed it necessary to review our current COVID-19 safety plan and make the following change:
- To protect staff and students from the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, West Ada School District is temporarily requiring all staff, students and visitors to wear masks when in a classroom and/or when social distancing is not possible, thus suspending all mask opt outs.
- Why is WASD implementing a mask requirement?
- The CDH and Ada County Health officials have identified the COVID-19 transmission alert level in Boise and Ada Counties as red (high community transmission) and report that hospitalizations are rising at the fastest rate since the pandemic began, among all age groups, including youth.
- Our local hospitals expect to face a crisis standard of care in the coming days. Northern Idaho hospitals and the Panhandle & North Central Health Districts have moved to a “crisis standard of care” due to a severe shortage of staffing and available beds in the northern area of the state caused by a massive increase in patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization.
- Student quarantines throughout the district are increasing in number at various school sites. As a result, school administrators and nurses district-wide are dedicating a large portion of their time to contact tracing, diverting them from their daily obligations and instructional leadership. Thus, a universal mask requirement, as opposed to a school-by-school requirement, has been put in place.
- A significant shortage of qualified substitute teachers is being experienced nationwide. As an organization, West Ada experiences an average of 35% unfilled substitute jobs daily.
- Who does the mask requirement apply to?
- The mask requirement applies to all students (Pre-K-12), staff and visitors.
- How do I properly wear a face mask?
- A face mask should cover the chin, nose, and mouth, whenever in the classroom and/or where social distancing is not possible.
- What if I submitted a mask opt-out form for my student?
- West Ada School District will be temporarily suspending all mask opt-outs received from families and implementing a mask requirement for all students and staff beginning Friday, September 10.
- What if my child has a medical mask exemption on file with the School Nurse?
- Medical exemptions on file with a student’s School Nurse or with Special Services in the form of a 504 Plan or an IEP will remain in place.
- Please note: Students who have a medical mask exemption on file and who wear a face shield or do not wear a mask in the classroom and/or when social distancing is not possible, will not qualify for the Quarantine Release Program (QRP).
- What information will be used when re-evaluating the mask requirement?
- West Ada School District will evaluate conditions and look at data before the mask policy is set to expire as we make decisions for the remainder of the first semester. The determination to lift or extend the temporary mask requirement policy will be based on COVID-19 data from the school district and local health care system.
- How will this affect students involved in extracurricular activities?
- Student athletes, band members and all students involved in indoor and outdoor extracurricular activities, including coaches, should social distance as much as possible and are encouraged, but not required, to wear a face mask when actively engaging in physical activities.
- Will staff be required to wear a mask in their office/classroom?
- As per the guidance sent out earlier this week, all staff are required to wear a face mask in the classroom.
- Will the district provide masks to students and staff?
- West Ada will continue to provide supplemental masks and sanitizer at district schools and facilities.
- Will WASD continue with contact tracing?
- WASD will continue with contact tracing during the 2021-2022 school year. If there is a positive case identified at a campus, the school’s COVID-19 Response Team will identify and notify close contacts. The district will also continue collaborating with local and county health officials as needed.
As one of the largest organizations in the Treasure Valley, as well as the State, we believe that we have a public health obligation. The virus has evolved, and so must we. Implementing a mask requirement for students (Pre-K-12) and staff is one way that West Ada can make a positive contribution to the community. While we are not convinced that this will solve the COVID-19 pandemic, as leaders, we feel obligated to do our part.
We are committed to working with our families, students, and staff to keep schools open, while prioritizing the health of our school communities. Your support and encouragement for our children during this challenging time as well as your compassion and respect for one another is greatly appreciated. We appreciate your commitment to your children and thank you in advance for your support of the temporary mask requirement while we make every effort for our students to remain in school.
As a school community I know we are all dedicated to providing the best for our children. I thank you for your continued encouragement, love, acceptance and open-mindedness as we tackle these challenging times together.
When we are in a high category for community transmission it means that if you have Covid-19 symptoms then you will need to quarantine yourself for ten days from the onset of symptoms. You can return earlier with a healthcare provider note indicating you can return to school/work.
Please note that the Centers for Disease Control currently has Ada County in the high category for community transmission.
DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO WEAR A MASK ON THE BUS?
Yes. As per the note at the bottom of the Opt-Out Form, " Please note that the opt-out does not apply to students on the school bus, as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a public health order requiring masks to be worn while on public transportation. This included school buses."
While inside the building, volunteers and guests will wear masks during school hours, or anytime school personnel or students are present.
IF MY CHILD IS WEARING A MASK IN THE CLASSROOM AND EXPOSED AT SCHOOL, DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO QUARANTINE AT HOME?
- If a student is within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes of a student who tests positive, they are considered to be exposed.
- If your child is not experiencing any symptoms and was wearing their mask at the time of exposure, your child may qualify for the Quarantine Release Program (QRP).
- On the QRP, the student can remain at school and not have to quarantine at home if as long as they are showing no symptoms.
- To participate in the QRP, the student must wear a mask indoors while at school at for 10 days.
- If the student develops symptoms at any time after exposure, please contact the school nurse for further guidance and keep the student home.
IF MY CHILD IS NOT WEARING A MASK OR SOMETIMES WEARING A MASK WILL MY CHILD HAVE TO QUARANTINE IF THEY ARE EXPOSED AT SCHOOL?
- Yes. If your child was not wearing a mask at the time of the school exposure, they must quarantine at home, regardless of symptoms.
- The quarantine begins on the day the student was exposed.
- The exposed student may qualify to return to school on day 8 if they receive a negative PCR COVID test between days 5-8 and are asymptomatic. The student must then wear a mask at school through day 10 post-exposure.
- The exposed student may return to school without a PCR COVID test on day 11 post-exposure if they have remained asymptomatic.
- If a student develops symptoms at any time after exposure, please contact the school nurse for further guidance and keep the student home.
IF MY CHILD IS EXPOSED OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL BUT HAS NO SYMPTOMS, MAY MY CHILD RETURN TO SCHOOL?
- No. Please contact our nurses firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and they will review the information regarding your child's required 10-day quarantine (from the last date of contact).
- Please utilize the West Ada School District supports for exposure and quarantine procedures under the Health Services site.
HOW CAN PARENTS HELP?
Parents are expected to screen students each morning for illness symptoms. If your child is not feeling well, please keep them home and contact the attendance office to report your child's absence.
- Your student is experiencing any COVID symptoms (including fever of 100 degrees or higher within the past 48 hours, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, loss of taste or smell, new or unusual headaches, or other symptoms associated with COVID-19)
- Your student has a known exposure to COVID.
- Anyone in your household is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and awaiting COVID test results or has tested positive for COVID.