Students in Alexandria Public Schools won’t have to wear masks in school beginning Wednesday, Nov. 3, although they are strongly recommended.

In an email to parents last week, Superintendent Rick Sansted said that given the current school district data, the school district would be moving from Tier III to Tier II. At the Tier II level, masks are strongly recommended for K-12 students.

“The shift is in response to analysis of our current school level data on COVID cases using our updated mitigation guide,” said Sansted.

Although masks are now “strongly recommended” in school buildings, masks must still be worn on school buses by students and bus drivers per federal guidelines.

Additionally, Sansted said district staff will continue to wear face coverings until the adult county transmission rates decrease. He said the district will continue to monitor the data closely and adjust as needed.

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In his communication to parents, Sansted included a student COVID-19 decision tree, which is to help families understand quarantine protocols should their children test positive for COVID-19 or if their student comes in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Alexandria Public Schools student COVID-19 decision tree.
Alexandria Public Schools student COVID-19 decision tree.

For instance, if students test positive and are symptomatic, they should stay home for 10 days from the symptom onset date.

If they are asymptomatic, students should stay home 10 days from the test date.

If students come in close contact with a positive COVID-19 person at school, during a sporting event or with someone not in their household, it will depend on whether they are masked and vaccinated. If masked and/or vaccinated and they are asymptomatic, there is no need to quarantine.

If they are not vaccinated and/or not masked, they would need to stay home and quarantine.

The decision tree spells out nearly every scenario for parents, which makes it easy to decide what will need to happen. If parents have questions, they can contact the COVID Information Center at 320-762-3345 or send an email to covid@alexschools.org.

Sansted also noted that the district is reducing physical distancing guidelines for close contact to 3 feet.

“While school cases have improved, we ask that you continue to monitor your child’s health on a daily basis,” said Sansted. “I want to thank you for your continuous commitment to health and safety in order to keep students in school and engaged through in-person learning. We will continue to be responsive to our data and adjust our mitigation protocols accordingly.”