COVID-19: What will the school year bring as education adjusts to infection possibilities?

Grace May
Pratt Tribune
Masks were a regular part of school life at USD 382, as at this board of education meeting last year. Whether masks will be worn or not remains undecided for the coming school season.

With school enrollment underway and start dates on the horizon many students and parents are wondering what school will look like. Last year, students and staff at USD 382 were required to wear masks the majority of the time, and activities were restricted. The restrictions and mask requirements were determined by the ‘zone color’ (green, green plus, amber, orange, or red) the school was in, based on the number of cases in the county. The same protocols from last year, which can be found on the school website, will be in place this year. Masking will be required if the school reaches amber.

The one major change from last year’s protocol will be for people who are vaccinated. They will still have to wear masks if the county reaches amber, but they will not be required to quarantine after exposure unless they show symptoms of COVID-19.

The health department encourages people to get vaccinations. They are available and free. 

As of right now, the school would be in green plus, which does not require masking, and lowers restrictions at activities. Whether or not masking is required at the start of school will depend on how many active cases are in the county. 

On Tuesday, August 3, at 6:45 pm, a meeting will be held in the LMS auditorium to give additional information on the protocols of the new school year. If unable to attend, the presentation will be livestreamed on the website, 

“We definitely appreciate the community support last year. I know people land in different places when it comes to masking, vaccinations, and everything else, but the community has been very supportive,” said Tony Helfrich, superintendent.