Guthrie Public Schools announced on Friday that students, teachers, staff and visitors will be required to wear a face covering while inside a building or school vehicle.
Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson said in a statement that Logan County is experinecing a dramatic rise in COVID cases.
“Until this week, Logan County infection rates have been some of the lowest in the state. Since Labor Day, our rates have more than doubled. We are one of the few school districts in the Oklahoma City metro area that has opened for traditional five days per week instruction.
Related article: OSDH: Logan County moves up to moderate COVID risk
Beginning on Sunday, September 27 students and staff, as well as any visitors to any of the school’s campuses, will be required to wear masks or face coverings while inside a building or school vehicle with more than one person present.
“That decision was based largely on the infection rates as well as the needs of our families,” Simpson said. “Preserving traditional in-person instruction five days per week is absolutely essential for our students and community.”
Elementary students (pre-kindergarten to fourth grade) will be at the discretion of the teacher while in the classroom but must wear masks in all common areas.
Students and staff will also be required to wear a mask or face covering while riding in a school bus. Students may remove their face coverings while in the school cafeteria during meal time and when outside.
Simpson says the mandate will have a minimum duration of two weeks. If infection rates for Logan County are below the orange level on the Oklahoma State Department of Health COVID-19 Alert System, the district will transition back to a strong recommendation for wearing masks or face coverings.
“Many nearby districts have mandated masks since the beginning of school, opened with only virtual instruction or have used a blended model with only two days per week of in-person instruction,” Simpson said.
He continued, “We must restore the learning that was lost during our closure last spring. We have monitored the infection rates on a daily basis and are making this decision in an effort to assure we can continue to offer in-person instruction in a traditional format.”