Dear EPS Family,
I hope you had a wonderful weekend and an opportunity to enjoy some rest and relaxation following the busy first two days of school.
I have received several questions about mask mandates. I felt it was important for everyone to receive the same answers to these questions, not just those who asked. Therefore, I am sending this communication out to all staff.
First, if a mask mandate were to be announced, the enforcement of that mandate would move directly to your classroom, your bus route, or your administrative office. Any mandate made in my office becomes your mandate to enforce. This has to be considered when making decisions.
As you know, Senate Bill 658 prohibits school boards from mandating masks. However, Friday, Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) announced that their superintendent of schools, not the school board, would require students and staff to wear masks. What you may not be aware of is that OKCPS is allowing parents to opt out of this mandate for health, religious or personal reasons by simply submitting an opt-out-form. Basically, there is still choice even in this mandate.
When I think about what an “opt out” plan would look like in your classrooms, I see an impossible task. How would you begin to know which students fell under the mandate and which students had opted out? To me, this would create unnecessary turmoil and would take away from instructional time.
Essentially, the position taken by OKCPS is the same that Edmond Public Schools has implemented, which is to allow each employee and family to make a personal decision on mask-wearing for their students(s).
Edmond Public Schools will continue to encourage the use of masks, but the choice remains with each individual. Science tells us that wearing a mask is one of the most important mitigation measures we can take to help stop the spread of COVID and protect our students and one another.
While our Covid cases are currently very low, we can expect that they will rise. Please know that we are continuously monitoring the situation and following our 2021-2022 Learning Plan, which calls for additional action to be taken if positive cases reach a certain percentage at any given site.
Despite the ongoing pandemic and the uncertainty and anxiety it can produce, I believe that we’re going to have a wonderful year. I was in every building at least twice last week. There was energy and excitement everywhere I went. I look forward to working alongside you to provide the best education we can for students.
I hope this has given you more insight.
Keeping you informed,