Please take a moment to read a letter from Superintendent Bergeson regarding the wearing of masks.
We set the standard for educating children; this is what we do. Whether your student prefers in-class instruction, online education or remote learning, we have developed and are continuing to create options and resources for our students. We really do lead the State in learning opportunities for children. With this understanding, please know that we will continue to provide the best learning environment for our students and will work to accommodate parent concerns throughout the continued COVID-19 situation.
As we look forward to the 2020-21 school year, let me explain a few things that will help you understand where the District stands with the reopening of schools. First of all, it isn't at our discretion as to whether we wear masks or not. The decision is statutorily assigned to the Governor's Office and the Public Health Department. They give the directives that we are required to follow. The only risk levels that would allow us to hold in-person school are yellow and green. The green level would not require masks, but the yellow level does require masks to be worn whenever social distancing of at least six feet isn't possible, such as on a school bus or in classrooms where there isn’t enough space to distance students.
Schools will only require masks if needed and would allow the removal of masks throughout the day for recess, lunch, and even in classrooms when appropriate. I personally prefer to not wear a mask and understand that most people don't; but if they help to reduce the number of Coronavirus cases, thus keeping us from moving back to an orange or red level where schools are closed, then I support mask wearing. I also feel a responsibility to protect our wonderful teachers and staff by following the directives we are given. Children are great conductors of the virus and can easily expose or infect the many bus drivers, teachers, cooks, custodians, secretaries, administrators, and volunteers they come in contact with daily. Without all of these dedicated people we would not be able to hold in-person school.
Students have significant benefits academically, socially, and emotionally with in-person school. Open schools also allow parents to return to work more easily, thus benefiting the suffering economy. Additionally, at the yellow or green levels, the Utah High School Activities Association will allow all sanctioned sports and activities to be held as long as the called for guidelines and restrictions are satisfied. If the wearing of masks, only as needed to comply with the associated guidelines and with an understanding of age and individual circumstances being kept in mind, is what it takes for this to happen, then I am strongly in favor of it.
I hope this helps to answer questions and clarify concerns that some may have. As mentioned above, it should be noted that if schools open in the yellow level this fall, thus requiring masks to be worn as directed, the District is preparing additional options for parents to have their student(s) educated remotely instead of wearing masks. We are preparing for the success of all children in Washington County.
Superintendent of Schools