Minerva Local Schools Face Covering Update
Questions & Answers
Why are you mandating face coverings for all students and staff?
Based on the quarantine guidelines that we have to follow, we must quarantine any student or staff member who is not vaccinated or wearing a face covering if they were in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case. This means we must exclude close contacts from school and extracurricular activities for up to 10 days.
As of October 19th, Minerva Local Schools has been notified of 84 positive cases among our staff and students. Since the last school board meeting the District has been able to avoid the quarantine of 54 students, which would have meant up to 540 days away from school, extracurriculars, and social activities. (Updated 10.19.21)
By implementing this mandatory face covering policy, we will no longer have to exclude students and staff from school who are identified as close contacts during the school day, as long as they remain symptom-free and wear their face covering. However, we will still have to exclude students and staff if the health department notifies us that they are a close contact in an off-campus setting which includes households and extracurricular activities.
“The bottom line is this: If a child is exposed to the virus, but if that child is vaccinated or if that child was wearing a mask during the exposure, that child does not need to be quarantined.” -Governor Mike Dewine
Our overall benchmark and report card data from last year suggests that our students will perform better academically if they receive in-person instruction. Therefore, we will keep our students in the building receiving in-person instruction by implementing this policy.
When does the face covering mandate go into effect?
The mandate for all students and staff will go into effect after we return from the Labor Day weekend, on Tuesday, September 7th.
Where will this face covering mandate be in effect?
The face covering mandate will be in effect in all Minerva Local Schools buildings and on school buses. Students and staff will be permitted to take face covering breaks if they are appropriately physically distanced of at least three feet from others.
The face covering mandate will not be in effect outside of the school building. This means that students, staff, and community members will not be required to wear face coverings if they are on our grounds but not in the building.
Are there face covering exemptions?
Yes, you can still obtain a medical face covering exemption from your doctor. Please provide the face covering exemption to the front office of your child’s school. If an exemption is approved, this does not mean that the student or staff member is exempt from quarantine. If the individual is identified as a close contact, quarantine guidelines will be followed. If your child had a face covering exemption on file from last school year we will honor that letter.
Does this mean my child cannot be quarantined from school?
No, it does not. Your child could still be quarantined if they are identified as close contact when not wearing a face covering. A few examples would be indoors during an extracurricular activity, or being a close contact outside of school if not vaccinated or wearing a face covering. While it will not eliminate the possibility of being quarantined, implementing this policy will significantly reduce the chance of a student or staff member being quarantined because we do not have to exclude anyone wearing a face covering.
Exposure to Covid-19 from within the home or elsewhere in the community does not fall under the school setting and will still require quarantine. (Added 9.6.21)
Will I still be notified if my child is a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case?
Yes, we will still notify you if your child is identified as a close contact. However, with the face covering mandate, your child will be able to remain in school and extracurricular activities as long as they remain symptom-free.
What if I refuse to allow my child to wear a face covering?
Unless provided with a valid medical exemption, all students and staff at Minerva Local Schools will be required to wear a face covering while the face covering mandate is in effect. We do realize that this is a very sensitive topic for many families. If you cannot allow your child to wear a face covering in school, and do not qualify for a medical exemption, please contact the building administrator.
What type of face covering does my child need to wear?
A face covering is preferred not to be seen through and goes over the nose and below the chin. (Added 9.30.21)
If my child is vaccinated, why do they have to wear a face covering?
As a school system, we currently do not have a way to know who is vaccinated. Even if someone voluntarily tells us that they are vaccinated, we do not have a system in place to accurately identify who is vaccinated or unvaccinated. Additionally, we do not want to create any type of divide in our District. Our goal is to keep all of our students in school so that they can receive the best education possible without disruption.
When will this face covering mandate end?
We will reevaluate our face covering mandate at the end of the month. We will review the data below when making this decision: