Alcona Community Schools won’t require masks this fall

News Photo by Crystal Nelson The entrance to Alcona High School’s auditorium is pictured Monday at 51 N. Barlow Rd in Lincoln.

LINCOLN — Face masks are not required for students or staff returning to school this fall, regardless of vaccination status, Alcona Community Schools Superintendent Dan O’Connor said in a letter that went to parents on Friday.

Masks can still be worn by students and staff in school if they choose, O’Connor said, and encouraged parents to notify the school office so staff can help support the decision.

Whether students will have to wear masks on school buses is still an unanswered question, O’Connor said, noting staff will seek further guidance and communicate with parents before the school year begins on Aug. 30.

O’Connor said in the letter he wanted parents to have some early information to help guide the school year.

“With almost eight weeks left before the start of the school year, regulations can change, but below are some answers to frequently asked questions as it stands today,” he said.

O’Connor said the district is committed to accommodate learning preferences. If parents want their child to learn in a way other than face-to-face, he encourages them to contact their building principal to discuss options.

Additionally, the district will transition back to a traditional school day, which is 8:15 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. for elementary students and 8:05 a.m. to 3 p.m. for middle and high school students.

District officials are still waiting for more information on the quarantining of students and staff when exposed to a confirmed case of the coronavirus. He said schools in the state are required to report communicable diseases to their local health departments.

The district will continue to continue its mitigation measures, such as the additional cleaning and sanitization of buses, classrooms, and surfaces that are used frequently. Students will also be encouraged to wash and sanitize their hands frequently.

Additional mitigation measures will include starting the day with free breakfast in the classroom, cohorting students when possible, utilizing outdoor learning spaces when possible, and using ionizers in spaces occupied by students and staff.

Other Northeast Michigan Schools are also rolling out their plans for the upcoming school year.

Carl Seiter, superintendent for Hillman Community Schools and Atlanta Community Schools, recently told parents at Hillman’s graduation that barring any catastrophe, students would not be required to wear masks. He also said he has no plans to quarantine close contacts unless they show symptoms.

Seiter said he is making the same recommendations for Atlanta Community Schools.

Alpena Public Schools Superintendent Dave Rabbideau said district officials are currently recommending mask-wearing for anyone who is not fully vaccinated or has other health concerns.

However, Rabbideau said he is of the opinion mask wearing should be recommended, but not required when students return to school.

APS officials have yet to release their policies for when they return to school in the fall.

Onaway Area Schools Superintendent Rod Fullerton said he is waiting until later this summer to make those determinations.


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