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Superior schools return to mandated masks

65 students, 20 staff tested positive for COVID-19 the first week back from winter break.

Superior High School students wear masks Jan. 11, 2022
Superior High School students Claire Farnham, left, and Xalia Raabel wear masks as they work on their laptops in class Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at SHS. Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, all staff and students in the Superior School District will be required to wear masks.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

SUPERIOR — All staff, students and visitors in Superior School District buildings will be required to wear masks beginning Wednesday, Jan. 12. The move comes in response to the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 since winter break, according to an email District Administrator Amy Starzecki sent to families Tuesday, Jan. 11. It affects both classes and after school activities.

“Above all, the priority of the board and of the district has been and continues to be keeping in person learning open for all students,” Starzecki said.

Masks were optional for students who were eligible for COVID-19 vaccination at the start of the school year, but mandatory for elementary students who could not yet get the vaccine. When school resumed Jan. 3, masks were made optional for all students and staff because vaccines were available for all ages.

During the first week back in the classroom, Jan. 3-7, the district had 65 students and 20 staff test positive for the virus . The district plan calls for mitigation strategies, such as masks, to be put in place after two to three weeks of a trend in cases.

Superior High School student Claire Farnham wears a mask Jan. 11, 2022
Superior High School student Claire Farnham wears a mask as she works on her laptop in class Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, at SHS. Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, all staff and students in the Superior School District will be required to wear masks.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Due to vaccine availability and decreasing COVID-19 case numbers, masks will become optional in all schools.

“However, given what has occurred across the country regarding the new Omicron variant, rates are predicted to continue to increase in our community and it is likely we have not seen the peak in cases yet,” Starzecki said.

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In order to be proactive, they are making the change to mandatory masks. The move will also affect school activities. Spectators, officials, staff, coaches and advisors must wear masks at all times. Students involved in meetings, practices and competitions must wear a mask when they are not actively practicing or competing. That includes when they are on the bench, on the pool deck, in locker rooms and classrooms.

“Our goal is to ensure in-person learning for all students continues,” Starzecki said, and wearing masks is one way our community can support our schools staying open for in person learning.

Clinic Map.jpg
A map provided by the Superior School District pinpoints the entrance that should be used for COVID-19 testing. The district will provide both rapid and PCR tests by appointment to students, staff and their families beginning Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.
Contributed / Superior School District

Testing available

The district is scheduled to open a COVID-19 testing clinic at Northern Lights Elementary School Wednesday for staff, students and their families. Due to a statewide shortage of rapid tests, only PCR test will be available. The clinic will be located inside Door 12, where buses pick up and drop off students. The clinic will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Appointments can be made online at https://register.covidconnect.wi.gov/ .

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