Harwood Unified Union School District administrators will announced plans for keeping or dropping masks in schools this week with the new guidance going into effect March 14.
“We felt it was prudent to wait a full week after returning from the recent school holiday before making any changes to our protocols. As such, please anticipate updates on HUUSD COVID-19 protocols to be released after this Wednesday, March 9, once we have been back in schools for a full week,” said adminstrators in a March 7 email to the community.
In that same email, administrators reported four cases of COVID in the district with two cases at Brookside Primary, one at Crossett Brook Middle School and one at Waitsfield Elementary School.
“Going forward, we will no longer be sending district-wide notifications of COVID-19 daily tallies. The total number of cases of individuals in our schools while considered infectious with COVID-19, along with a weekly case count, can be found on our district website (huusd.org) This information will be updated each Friday,” Superintendent Brigid Nease, along with COVID coordinator Allison Conyers and building-based COVID administrator Kaiya Korb wrote in the email.
The email references an email that went out prior to February break noting that the district has seen a surge of COVID cases after every school vacation.
“We have seen a surge of COVID cases after every school vacation, when students and staff may travel and or come into contact with a greater variety of people than while school is in session. Continuing masking, our primary COVID mitigation tool, through March 11 will allow us an opportunity to review case counts during and immediately following the school break before making our local decision,” Nease wrote in the earlier email.
The Vermont Agency of Education has recommended that masking in schools can be lifted when a vaccination rate of 80% or more has been achieved. And even though at least four local schools have hit that rate of vaccination and lifted mask rules, federal rules still require masks on buses and Vermont Department of Health calls for close contacts to mask for 10 days after exposure – even when masks are eliminated for the general population.