Re-8 teacher urges reconsideration of mask use

Delta variant brings cautious update from Re-8

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A Fort Lupton High School teacher urged the Weld Re-8 School District and its board of education to do more to protect students and staff from coronavirus.
Amy Palmore made her plea during a business meeting of the board Sept. 23. She asked the board to reconsider its decision on mask mandates -- they are optional -- in light of an incident involving a student.
Because of federal regulations, Superintendent Alan Kaylor could release little information about the student, other than a last date of attendance, which was Sept. 2.
"I have no confirmation on a positive COVID test for that student," Kaylor said by text.
Palmore said even though some board members already made up their minds about masks, she urged a reconsideration.
"We've heard arguments that kids feel stifled by wearing a mask," she told the board. "But that's only by adults in positions of power. Last year, people were telling students not to get tested because that would jeopardize prom."
She didn't identify anyone.
"Withholding information is contradictory," Palmore said. "It's unfortunate that we are politicizing a health issue. We aren't keeping anyone safe."
Kaylor said the positive test rate in the district stood at 10.74 percent as of Sept. 17, which he said was low" compared to surrounding districts. However, the district is encouraging students and staff to wear masks while indoors, continue hand washing and to self-monitor for symptoms.
"Of the districts that surround us with higher rates, are they requiring masks?" asked board member Cody LeBlanc.
:"Windsor 7 is requiring them for ninth- through 12th-graders," Kaylor said. "In Greeley 6, they are optional. I was on a superintendent call today (Sept. 23), and it is a hot topic of conversation again in Weld County."
The district said Sept. 17 that officials will continue to allow families to make choice about wearing masks. The Weld County Health Department does not require masks.
"However, it is a requirement by CDC and CDPHE that all students who ride public transportation must wear a mask," said a Facebook post from the district. "So this includes all Weld Re-8 buses. If your student does not have a mask with them as they board the bus, they will be provided a mask for the first time. Masks must be worn throughout the bus ride." Those who don't may lose bus privileges.
The district is offering free COVID testing for staff members who come into close contact with a known positive case at school. To qualify, the person has to show symptoms and contact Paula Samide at health@weld8.or for an appointment.
The website said Weld Re-8 does the Abbott BinaxNOW Antigen quick test that produces results in 15 minutes.
"The safety of our students and staff is our top priority while balancing personal and professional choice," the post concluded.

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