PSD removes mask requirement for summer, no decision on fall has been made

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Students in Poudre School District summer school or summer programs are no longer required to wear masks indoors. 

PSD updated its COVID-19 safety protocols for the summer and removed the mask requirement for students when inside. There weren’t other notable changes in the district’s updated summer protocols as students are still encouraged to distance from non-household contacts, contact tracing remains in effect at a reduced scale from the school year and PSD is still encouraging — though not requiring — vaccinations for students and staff. 

Prior to the change, which went into effect Wednesday, PSD’s masking guidelines were more complicated and age-dependent. 

Staff were required to mask up, unless they showed proof of vaccination to their supervisor. Kids 10 and younger were strongly recommended to wear masks when indoors, though it wasn’t required; 11-year-olds were required to wear masks indoors; and 12 year-olds who were fully vaccinated and able to provide proof to PSD staff were able to skip the mask. 

However in all situations, PSD told families that students who wore masks were less likely to receive quarantine orders if they came into contact with a positive COVID-19 case, which remains true under the updated guidelines. 

Per state guidelines, masks are still required on PSD buses regardless of vaccination status. 

Parents, volunteers and other visitors to a school building are required to self-monitor for symptoms and are asked to wear a mask if not vaccinated, though not required. 

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Will masks be required in the fall? 

District officials say it’s still too early to tell.

The state is expected to release updated safety guidelines for schools in mid-July, at which point new PSD superintendent Brian Kingsley said the district will assess its safety protocols for the fall. Kingsley said he hopes to be able to let families know what the fall will look like by Aug. 1, though the situation is “fluid” and that date may change. 

PSD is not alone in waiting to make its call regarding fall protocols.

Thompson School District has also not yet released guidelines for the fall. Mike Hausmann, spokesperson for Thompson, said he expects their guidelines to be shared in the next week. 

But Weld Re-4, another nearby district covering Windsor and Severance, has already removed the requirement. Weld announced on July 6 that its students would not be required to wear masks in the fall, and the expectation is that “staff or students will be treated respectfully whether they choose to wear a mask or not.”

Weld will not collect vaccination status, nor initiate quarantines for students who have come into contact with a COVID-19 positive person, but it’s asking students and staff who test positive or are symptomatic to isolate at home. 

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Molly Bohannon covers education for the Coloradoan. Follow her on Twitter @molboha or contact her at mbohannon@coloradoan.com. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.