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Kuemper keeps mask mandate for remainder of school year

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Kuemper Catholic Schools will continue requiring face coverings for the remainder of the school year.

The mask mandate remains in place until May 28, the close of this school year, according to information from John Steffes, Kuemper president.

The Kuemper School Board made the decision to keep the mandate in place during its meeting Tuesday evening.

“Face masks helped create an effective routine that has allowed Kuemper to remain in school face to face at all centers since August, giving your students a more-complete educational experience all year long in the middle of a global pandemic,” states information from Kuemper. “The board wants to celebrate a strong finish to the school year by continuing to do our part to help end this historic pandemic.”

The board discussed the issue after schools received a recommendation Friday from the Iowa Department of Public Health that schools treat COVID-19 like other child illnesses. The IDPH update suggested that schools make masks optional and remove quarantine guidelines that have been in place for exposed students this year. IDPH also said that students with a positive COVID-19 test or symptoms should stay home.

Following that announcement, multiple area public schools, including the Carroll Community School District, removed their mask mandates and quarantine requirements for the remainder of the school year.

Kuemper officials said they are choosing to keep the district’s mask mandate for the last eight days of the school year because of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidelines, which state that fully-vaccinated adults can remove masks in public spaces but that masks still are recommended for those who are not fully vaccinated. Those recommendations would apply to most students, Kuemper officials said.

The school’s announcement also noted that the Sioux City Diocese continues to recommend face masks in church for those who are not fully vaccinated.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine recently was authorized for children ages 12 and older. Kuemper and other schools are holding vaccination clinics in the coming days. The district encourages parents to sign their children up for the vaccine if they are 12 or older.

“It will help increase chances for your child to enjoy a more-normal summer for playing sports and attending camps, and most importantly, more vaccinations will help finally end the pandemic,” states information from Kuemper. “Help us end this pandemic so it doesn’t linger around next fall — please schedule shots for your family.”

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