Lexington Two School District passes temporary emergency mask mandate

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 7:52 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The Lexington School District Two Board of Trustees held a special meeting Thursday night which resulted in the passing of a temporary emergency mask mandate. Students, staff, and visitors to schools in the district will be required to wear masks on school property through October 31.

Lexington Two Superintendent Dr. Nicolas Wade says masking up is the way to keep schools from shutting down and shifting to virtual learning, which four Lexington Two schools have already had to do this school year due to high quarantine and positive COVID-19 cases.

“In order to keep children in school and meaningfully engaged in their learning, the district needs to find a path forward that allows us to limit the quarantine numbers,” said Wade.

In the first three weeks of school, the district reports more than 2,000 students are quarantining or have tested positive for COVID-19. That’s almost 25% of all students in the district, and it’s more than three times the total of the entire 2020-2021 school year.

“As a parent, I’m concerned about the possibility of my child quarantining multiple times and the difficulties that presents with my job,” said one Lexington Two parent.

Some parents voiced their opinion at the meeting, and the board acknowledged that some are not in favor of the mandate.

“The mental health concerns—they can be vocal, visual—I can stand here and spit out multiple reasons of why,” said another parent.

Wade says keeping students safely in the classroom five days per week is what’s most important, rather than having to shut schools down.

“That creates a lot of anxiety, uncertainty, inconsistency of what people can expect, not only in school but in their own day-to-day lives,” said Wade.

Other changes coming to Lexington Two through October 31 include:

  • The length of student and staff quarantine will be 10 days
  • There will be no field trips or out-of-state trips
  • No visitors or volunteers will be allowed on campus that are not parents or guardians

Wade says the biggest threat to school closure is the number of positive students or quarantine students.

“The only scenario in which we can grossly reduce the number of quarantined students is basically when all the individuals are wearing masks,” said Wade.

The board says it will continue discussing the mandate periodically through October 31 as quarantine numbers fluctuate.

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