Beginning Thursday, July 1, 2021, Winona Area Public Schools will not require students, staff and visitors to wear masks while in school buildings.
The decision was made by the district’s Incident Command Advisory Team, which took into account recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) as well as COVID-19 activity in Winona County.
In the last 14 days, there have been five reported positive cases of COVID-19 in Winona County. There have been zero reported positive cases of COVID-19 within the district since the week of May 16.
The decision means there will no longer be a mask requirement for students attending Key Kids child care, students taking part in summer programming, staff and employees who work in school buildings, as well as public groups and organizations who rent district facilities.
However, the requirement by the CDC (linked here) to wear face coverings on all public transportation — including school buses — will remain in effect. Each bus will maintain a supply of face coverings for students or staff who do not have one. In addition, students and staff who prefer to continue wearing a face covering will be respected for this decision. Bullying, harassing, and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.
MDH and CDC continue to strongly recommend that anyone who is not fully vaccinated continue to wear face coverings indoors in businesses, public settings and when around people from other households, as well as outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
The Incident Command Advisory Team will remain vigilant in monitoring district, local, and county COVID-19 trends and transmission levels, and will reestablish the face covering requirement if needed to keep students, staff, visitors, and the community safe. The district will continue to follow other strategies to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19, such as the practice of “cohorting” and/or physical distancing, hand hygiene practices, source controls, health screening and isolation for symptomatic individuals, contact tracing and quarantine protocols, and regular cleaning and disinfection routines and procedures.
For more information, please see the WAPS COVID-19 Preparedness Plan (linked here) for more information.