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Masks now mandatory in PLCS schools
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Masks now mandatory in PLCS schools

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Masks now mandatory in PLCS schools - p1

A file photo from the first day of school for PLCS students in August 2021 show elementary students in masks. On Jan. 13, 2022, the mask mandatory policy was reinstated for all PLCS students following a sharp increase in school absences.

PAPILLION – On Thursday, Jan. 13, Papillion La Vista Community Schools returned to a mask mandatory policy for all schools and facilities in the face of spiking COVID-19 cases nationwide.

In a report to the PLCS Board of Education at its bi-weekly meeting on Monday, Jan. 10, Communications Director Annette Eyman reiterated the built-in safeguards in policy that would trigger a return to mask use and other mitigation efforts.

Among them, at all grade levels, if a school’s absentee rate for illness reaches a three-day average of 7% or higher, masks are required for a minimum of 10 days. Masks will remain required thereafter unless and until the three-day average in absences is below 7%.

The PLCS absentee rate went from nearly 8% on Monday to nearly 11% by Thursday afternoon, Eyman said. Pre-pandemic absentee rates in the winter traditionally hover around 4%.

Schools in Omaha and Lincoln have made masks mandatory in recent days, and Grand Island High School began required masking on Thursday.

Other mitigation factors, including social distancing and added handwashing, will return to PLCS grade schools. Additionally, vaccination continues to be encouraged for unvaccinated children by the Sarpy Cass Health Department, Eyman said.

According the SCHD COVID-19 Dashboard, 4,178 people in Sarpy County have an active case of coronavirus as of Thursday, Jan. 13. In Sarpy and Cass counties, 1041 cases are children from birth to 19-years-old. Daily positive test results have hit all-time highs near 70%.

“Not the direction that any of us want to see, but again, as Ms. Eyman stated at the beginning, our ultimate goal as a district is to continue to have in person learning,” said PLCS Board President Brian Lodes on Monday. “Remote learning just does not work.”

Other PLCS notes:

At Monday’s PLCS board meeting, new officers were elected. Brian Lodes will return as president, and Valerie Fisher – who easily survived a recent recall effort – returns as board secretary. Newly elected as board vice president is Skip Bailey, and Marcus Madler takes over as board treasurer.

The PLCS Board of Education will next meet on Monday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. at the PLCS Central Office, 420 So. Washington Street.

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