Phased approach to Mask Protocols
June 15, 2022
Dear MMSD Families,
I hope all of you are experiencing a great start to a much deserved summer vacation. For families whose summer plans include participating in Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) summer semester or MSCR programming, I am writing to inform you of our decision to modify our current COVID-19 safety protocol on masks. Effective at the start of the summer semester, we are modifying wearing a mask indoors from “required” to “highly recommended.” This decision comes after our continued review of current metrics, recent CDC guidance and following the unanimous recommendation of our medical advisors.
We have been united in our work to ensure the safety of everyone in our school community, and I want to thank all of you for following our safety protocols the past two years. As a result of our partnership, today, we are in a much better position than we have been since the start of the pandemic. Case counts within our school district continue to decline, and our commitment to the social-emotional health and well-being of our scholars and staff remains a top priority.
MMSD will continue to have in place universal health practices such as frequent handwashing, cleaning, and staying home when ill. Research shows, masks are one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus. Therefore, masks may again be required if COVID conditions warrant or they are recommended under the guidance of health officials. Although MMSD still highly recommends wearing a mask for everyone, there are situations where we will continue to require masking indoors. These include:
When an individual is showing any symptoms of a respiratory illness such as cough, congestion, runny nose, and/or sore throat.
If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to isolate (stay home) for a minimum of five days. If symptoms are improving after five days, they may return to school, but must wear a mask for at least the first five days after their return.
When an individual is identified as “close contact,” they will be required to wear a mask for a period of time – duration will be determined after completing the MMSD health screener.
We also continue to strongly encourage all individuals eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to do so by visiting one of many local vaccine clinics currently available. In addition, we strongly recommend those who have received a vaccine make sure they are considered up-to-date following the latest federal guidelines.
We also encourage you to visit our MMSD COVID-19 safety webpage to review current district COVID protocols and to obtain the latest updates and information.
The upcoming months will be a period of transition for all of us — students, staff, and families. We all share in the responsibility of making our school spaces safe, welcoming learning environments for every scholar. Everyone has their own story and reasons why they will mask or not. It is important we continue to respect and appreciate the personal choices of others. It is also important for families to be prepared to make decisions on masking involving their student(s), and we encourage families to discuss with their students the expectations around mask wearing and why, as well as why others may choose differently.
As we anticipate COVID-19 eventually moving from the pandemic stage to an endemic stage (where the virus remains present, but is more limited in scope and impact), we will all experience new norms of practice and behavior. During this transition, I see great opportunities for our entire MMSD community ahead. We are confident the lessons we have all learned over the past two years will assist our school community in re-emerging stronger and wiser, with a renewed commitment to the success of every scholar.
The past two-plus years have certainly been a journey, and we have come a long way. I want to thank each and every one of our scholars, staff members, and families for your ongoing support and partnership, as we continue to move forward on this journey together! We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer, and look forward to seeing you soon.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.