Masking Status an Individual Decision Beginning 2/24
Dear RTSD Community,
Last night (and into early this AM), our School Board approved changes to our Health and Safety Plan to permit all students, staff, and visitors in RTSD buildings to determine their own masking status beginning Thursday, February 24. All students and staff will still be required to wear masks when on District transportation per a federal requirement. Additionally, through the month of March, all large after-school indoor events will require masking for spectators and visitors. Athletes and performers are not required to mask.
Those who choose to mask, as well as those who choose not to mask, will be equally respected by the District, and we are confident our staff and students will also show this same respect for one another.
As a District, we are entering another transitional moment in our response to the pandemic. Some of our students and staff will be ready to take their masks off and many others will choose to wear them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends masking indoors for schools. As a District, we continue to weigh guidance from many sources, as well as our own experience and spread rates, before making any decisions.
The revised Health and Safety Plan also outlines conditions for when the mask mandate would be reinstated: if cases meet or exceed 2.5% of a school building’s total student and staff population, masking would be required during the school day for 14 calendar days for the affected school(s). Thresholds for individual schools will be calculated based on cases where a student or employee was in-school. At the elementary level, administration has the discretion to require masking for individual classrooms and/or individual grade levels if either setting meets or exceeds the 2.5% threshold. Administration also has the discretion to require masking should an emergency warrant it.
The most recent data posted to our Covid dashboard tracking positive cases shows nine total cases (2 staff, 7 students) throughout our buildings reported from February 11-17. This is down from a high of 208 cases for the week of December 31, 2021-January 6, 2022 and continues the decline we have been experiencing over the past several weeks.
While this downward trend is encouraging, as I wrote in my message from February 11, the recommendation to change our Health and Safety Plan was not made lightly. Our School Board took great care and consideration in adjusting our masking requirements. Our collective analysis and review of guidance was shared in an extensive presentation given at last night’s meeting, which was also provided at the February 15 Board Curriculum Committee meeting.
Now, as we transition to individuals and families making their own masking decisions in our schools, we also undertake efforts to ensure and maintain a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for all students and staff no matter their choice. We can look to our programming last summer for a preview of this environment, where masking was an individual choice. About 30% of students enrolled in these programs chose to mask, and the respect all students displayed is reason to be proud and encouraged.
To further support this respectful environment in our schools, we have provided resources to our school administrators and teachers for use, if needed, in their schools and classrooms. We are optimistic that as One Radnor Community, this respect will carry from neighbor-to-neighbor across our community. Together, we will continue to provide our students with the best educational experience.
Thank you for your support of our schools.
Kenneth E. Batchelor
Superintendent of Schools
- Health and Safey Plan
- Mitigation Strategies