LTUSD to follow mask guidelines; Not all parents on board
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe Unified School District is back in session on Aug. 30, and superintendent Dr. Todd Cutler said that the school district plans on following the California Department of Public Health guidelines regarding COVID-19.
As posted on the district’s website earlier this month, all students and staff of the LTUSD will be required to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
There has been a considerable amount of backlash from parents, who don’t believe that their students should have to wear masks at school, especially if they are already vaccinated. Vaccinations are available to any Californian 12 or above.
“We have been consistent the entire time that is not a law,” said local resident Brandie Griffith. “It’s not even mandatory by the state of California. It is a guideline from the Department of Public Health and the CDC.”
Griffith said that the “Unmask Our Kids SLT” events, the first of which was Aug. 10, and the second is planned for Tuesday, Aug. 24, are to raise awareness of the negative effects wearing masks has for children (age 0-17 years), who make up the least amount of COVID-19 cases in the US.
“Kids are the least susceptible group for the COVID virus,” said Griffith.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association reported that as of Aug.14, children represented 14.4% of the overall COVID-19 cases in the US since the pandemic began in March 2020.
“I respect and appreciate their stance,” said Cutler, “Yet, as a public school system, we are required to follow the public office requirements, and we as a board and a superintendent, and as a community, thought it’s not only our responsibility to include those [guidelines], but for the greater good and the health of our organization, we need to do that as well.”
The guidelines have been laid out in detail on the district’s website, outlining the various procedures for vaccinated and unvaccinated students and staff members. These procedures include what to do if a vaccinated versus unvaccinated student were to get sick, along with the requirement of vaccination status among all workers in the district. These regulations and guidelines have been laid out in detail on the LTUSD website, ltusd.org, under the COVID-19 tab.
Cutler said that there are a few plus sides to returning to campus, even though students and staff will have to wear masks.
“They’re not mandated while we’re outside,” said Cutler. “We’ll utilize outside teaching spaces as much as possible, while the weather is nice.”
Cutler said that the goal is to keep students and staff as safe as possible with these regulations, which include protocols for testing staff members who are unvaccinated weekly, along with requiring proof of vaccination from staff members. He’s hoping that while the staff are doing their part to stop the spread, the students and families at home are also trying to do the same.
“It’s not going to be perfect,” said Cutler. “We have an expectation as a student that gets on a school bus that they have their mask on. But also, the hand sanitizer when they come in and out of classrooms, and masks on at all times. We’re talking about young people, and we’re going to do our best… and we know there will be an opportunity to spread. We’ll just have to manage that as well.”
LTUSD’s COVID-19 Mitigation Guidance for Students and Staff is in accordance with the Aug. 2 and Aug. 6 recommendations of the El Dorado County Public Health Office.
For more information about the latest recommendations and guidelines from the CDPH and El Dorado County, visit edcgov.us/Government/hhsa/Pages/EDCCOVID-19.aspx.
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