May 13, 2021 (Updated May 17, 2021) – As you are well aware, the topic of masking continues to be the source of active discussion and consideration across our community, state, and nation. As a school district, please know that we recognize and respect the diverse views that have been expressed related to the required use of face masks while indoors. While we envision and continue to strive towards a future in which masks are not part of our daily lives, the Helena Public Schools continue to require the use of face masks while indoors in all of our schools/facilities. This includes required use for those who are fully vaccinated. The use of masks while outdoors is optional for all students, employees, and visitors.
While we understand that masking will no longer be enforced in Lewis & Clark County, the Board of Health emergency rules pertaining to schools remain intact and masking continues to be recommended for public indoor spaces. As a school district, we will continue to follow guidance as it pertains to masking as a practice to keep our students, employees, and families as safe and healthy as possible during this ongoing pandemic. The expectation of indoor masking will remain through the end of this 2020/2021 school year. This practice complies with the most recent recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Specifically, the CDC recommends that schools/districts continue to use the COVID-19 prevention strategies outlined in the current version of CDC’s Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools for at least the remainder of the 2020/2021 academic school year (link). The CDC continues to cite the critical use of layered prevention strategies including the five below-listed practices deemed essential for decreasing COVID-19 transmission within schools.
In June, the Board of Trustees expect to revisit and consider revisions to our district face mask policy. Any changes in this regard are expected to inform plans related to our forthcoming summer programs and the 2021/2022 school year.
We continue to thank you for your ongoing understanding and cooperation.