In a predicted shift in policy due to rising COVID-19 cases in Sarpy County, the Papillion La Vista Community Schools is mandating all students kindergarten through 12th grade and all staff wear masks starting Monday, Aug 30.
On Aug. 23, the PLCS Board of Education gave emergency authority to PLCS Superintendent Andrew Rikli, allowing him to approve operational decisions in a timely manner between board meetings.
“With this pandemic, we must remain nimble if we are to stay ahead of its most damaging effects,” Board President Brian Lodes said at the meeting.
In a posting on their website Friday afternoon, PLCS said:
“Beginning Monday, August 30, 2021, all students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear a mask while inside all Papillion La Vista Community Schools and buildings, as well as all district-provided transportation and buses. Everyone should wear masks when entering buildings. Those who arrive without a mask will be provided one. Masks will not be required outdoors, including at recess, outdoor PE classes, and other outdoor sports and activities.
“This decision was made due to an increase of positive COVID-19 cases since classes resumed on August 12. Since that time, the Sarpy/Cass Health Department has closed three PLCS classrooms and cases have increased from 28 cases on Monday, August 23, 2021, to over 105 cases as of Friday, August 27, 2021. Cases are being reported at all school levels across the district. Requiring masks supports the PLCS priority to keep students learning in person at school all year, with the particular intent to prevent any additional classroom closures.
“Dr. Rikli and PLCS officials have been in continual conversation with the Sarpy/Cass County Health Department to regularly reassess the effectiveness of the protocols outlined in the Return to School plan for 2021-2022. When the plan was released, we had hoped for more normalcy. However, with the recent spike in cases it is clear that the protocols must be adjusted in order to prioritize health and safety and keep learning in person. The Board of Education supports the implementation of this plan.
“PLCS will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in our schools and community and make adjustments as needed. This change in health and safety protocols will be in effect until further notice and shall be considered an addendum to the Student Handbook.”