HSSD Mask Resolution, Effective 8/9/2021

HSSD Mask Resolution, Effective 8/9/2021
Posted on 08/09/2021
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A Message from HSSD Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Nehus

Good Evening Trojan Family,


I want to share an update with you regarding the wearing of masks during the start of the school year. With great consideration, the Hot Springs School District School Board has just approved a Resolution that is effective immediately to require masks indoors and when social distancing is not possible for all persons ages 2+ who are present on school campuses or in school vehicles or buses through September 21, 2021. This Resolution is for our staff members, students, visitors and any others who are present on our school campuses or at school events. On September 21, if the positive COVID-19 cases in the Garland County area have decreased, the School Board will reevaluate the Resolution.
>>Read the HSSD School Board Resolution Regarding Masks and Litigation Concerning Act 1002 for the 2021-2022 School Year, here. 

This message is very important, because we are hosting Open House on August 12, and the first day of school is August 16. We are so excited to have our kids back with us, for in-classroom learning. We are deeply concerned, however, that if we do not have a mask requirement in place while COVID-19 numbers are so staggeringly high, that we would be bringing them back to unsafe campuses and classrooms.

We appreciate your support and understanding as we implement this Resolution, which is entirely based on what is safest and best for our kids. This Resolution is also based on a current surge in our community of positive COVID-19 cases, which we hope changes in the near future.

We will have masks available at all campuses for our staff, students, and guests. 

Background: 

The HSSD School Board met this evening in a special called session at 5:00 p.m. to discuss safety options for our students, specifically related to the wearing of masks and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Last week Judge Fox, Pulaski County Circuit Judge, ruled that the ban on mask requirements from Act 1002  was unconstitutional. For now (though, we understand that could change), this allows school districts to make their own determinations about masks and face coverings. 

Our goals in passing this Resolution are to: 1) Maintain the safety of our students and staff members; 2) Avoid quarantines based on unvaccinated students and/or staff members not wearing masks (*as students under 12 do not even qualify to receive a COVID-19 vaccine);
3) Eliminate the pressure on students to “choose” a mask decision during an emergency situation; with COVID numbers so high, we are taking the initiative to have all students wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at nehuss@hssd.net.
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