Carson City schools drop mask requirement for students

As of Tuesday, families with students in the Carson City School District parents can choose whether their student will wear a mask or face covering while in school.

As of Tuesday, families with students in the Carson City School District parents can choose whether their student will wear a mask or face covering while in school.

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Effective Tuesday, parents can determine if their student will wear a mask or face covering while in schools within the Carson City School District. In accordance with Emergency Directive 048, masks will be provided for all students and adults who utilize school transportation. Furthermore, in accordance with the directive, employees, volunteers and visitors will continue to wear masks or face coverings while indoor school facilities.
The district’s decision comes after comparing the number of active cases in the Carson City School District from October 2021 through January 2022 with active cases in Douglas and Lyon County school districts in which masks have been optional for students. There was no discernable difference in the reduction of active cases during this period of time.
Superintendent Richard Stokes announced to the local media Friday morning the school district had been watching the community’s health conditions since the 2021-22 school year began. CCSD began its year in a mask-optional status and began observing an increase in COVID-19 cases after August with hundreds of students having to be excluded from school.
“With this latest surge associated with the omicron variant, we compared our new cases against those of other school districts who are similar in our size, like Douglas County School District and Lyon County School District, and we looked at the latest numbers with other districts around us,” Stokes said. “We looked at their numbers and they were very similar to ours and we made decision to go back to our original plan.”
On Jan. 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance to recommend individuals wear the most protective mask available and fit users well and consistently. The district continues to recommend the guidance be followed. However, the district has observed that many students attending schools might not be consistently wearing well-fitting masks in and out of school. While the district has no doubt that masking might be part of an effective multi-layered strategy in the prevention of spreading COVID-19, it is unable to implement this mitigation measure with fidelity and in the manner recommended by the CDC.
The district continues to implement a multi-layered mitigation approach to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in schools including, ventilation and air filtration, cleaning, sanitizing, testing, social distancing (where possible) and exclusion of symptomatic individuals or those who test positive.
The district continues to ask parents, families and employees to conduct Daily Self-Screenings. If any employee or student is actively exhibiting illness symptoms, they must remain home. Please refer to the Revised Isolation and Quarantine Guidance provided by the county health department.
“One thing I hope that has occurred in everybody’s life is the concept of being aware of who you’re around and taking the opportunity to be socially distanced,” Stokes said. “The use of good personal hygiene, using hand sanitizer and if facemasks are something you believe in and you should wear, then by all means we encourage our students and our parents to talk to our children about those good health practices and characteristics.”
Stokes also addressed concerns for parents who do have a desire to have their students continue wearing their masks for health reasons.
“It’s my expectation that we allow all students to exercise their right to an education freely,” Stokes said. “We do not want anybody to be excluded ever, and if there are issues associated with stigma with students wearing their masks, then please let your school principal or teacher know so we can address it because we don’t want this to be a reason for students not to get the education they deserve.
“That’s how we introduced this change is parents have the option to send their school wearing their mask if they want to, and we respect and honor that desire and will do our best to make sure their children are protected.”


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