USD 382 Pratt: Masks no longer required in classrooms

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
USD 382 COVID-19 gated zones have moved to green, meaning that students are now no longer required to wear masks in their classrooms.

Last Wednesday, school officials at USD 382 Pratt announced that the school is now in the green criteria regarding COVID-19. The school district, as a way to keep everyone safe and create consistent criteria, made a gating criteria based on how many active cases there were in the community, as well as amongst students and staff. The zones were in the colors of green, green plus, orange, and red, with green being the lowest zone, and Red being the most severe, in which case school would be remote. 

In order to be in the green zone, which hasn’t happened this year, Superintendent Tony Helfrich said there has to be zero active cases for students and staff. He said the district also  looks at the number quarantined, overall absenteeism percentage, Pratt County cases, and the number of cases in the regional block of counties.

This means that Pratt students no longer have to wear masks in the hallways or in the classroom. However, students must still wear a mask into the building every morning, in case students need to be within three feet of each other for more than 10 minutes, in which case masks still need to be worn. Helfrich said that masks will still be required on activity transportation vehicles, since students are in close contact with each other for prolonged periods. 

“We are requiring masking on transportation because it is a closed environment and we don't want to spring back to a big, unexpected outbreak,” Helfrich said. “But, we believe the vaccinations and acquired immunity have lessened the overall risk of a massive outbreak.  We are still being cautious but we are lessening restrictions while we continue to carefully watch the numbers.  We will discuss with our board to look at our gating criteria and potentially expand our green zone.”

USD 382 students have been required to wear masks to and at school since the beginning of the fall 2020 school year. 

building every morning, in case students need to be within three feet of each other for more than 10 minutes, in which case masks still need to be worn. Helfrich said masks will still be required on  transportation vehicles, since students are in close contact with each other for prolonged periods. 

“We are requiring masking on transportation because it is a closed environment and we don't want to go back to a big, unexpected outbreak,” Helfrich said. “But, we believe the vaccinations and acquired immunity have lessened the overall risk of a massive outbreak.  We are still being cautious but we are lessening restrictions while we continue to carefully watch the numbers.  We will discuss with our board to look at our gating criteria and potentially expand our green zone.”

USD 382 students have been required to wear masks to and at school since the beginning of the fall 2020 school year.