Below are some changes happening in our state and Reno County in regards to facemasks along with recommendations from Reno County Health Department. Many of you may be wondering the impact that could have on our current policy. The last paragraph has information regarding the district facemask policy. We continue to listen to our medical professionals, evaluate our COVID numbers, implement safety procedures, and learn how to best educate students while keeping everyone safe as our knowledge about the virus grows. It has been a steep learning curve for sure. :-)
From KASB (Kansas Association of School Boards)
SB 40 was enrolled and presented to the governor on March 18. She has 10 days to sign or veto. Apparently she has indicated she will sign. The bill would essentially give the local board sole authority to make decisions concerning 1) closing any of the district’s schools; 2) authorizing any other form of attendance than full-time, in person attendance; and 3) mandating any action by students or employees of the school district. So, yes, apparently the decision on masks in the buildings will soon be solely in the hands of the board. The board should still think about potential harm to students and staff and weigh whether conditions are safe enough that it is not risking liability to the district. We would still recommend consulting with the health department on these issues before making a decision.
From Reno County Commissioners:
The commissioners opted out of the Mask Mandate at this morning's meeting. The "Opt out of the Mask Mandate" goes into effect at 12:01 on 3-24-2021
From Reno County Health Department
As you may know, the Commissioners opted out of the Mask Mandate at this morning's meeting. The RCHD and the Medical Collaborative still advise wearing a mask, until we have more people vaccinated. We are at 22.3% as a county and close to that for a state as well. Senate Bill 40 also questions the legality of a “Mandate” in general for Commissioners or Health Officers, so there is a lot in this bill. However, the schools have the right to choose to do what they wish to do with the masks whether they wish to require them or not, or any other mandate for that matter. From what was discussed this morning the bill will be signed by the Governor, but we do not believe it goes into effect until July 1st.
Buhler Facemask Policy
USD #313 will continue to require facemasks to be worn inside of our facilities with some modifications. Students who are in cohort groups in our elementary schools may remove them when they are with that group. Also, facemarks are not required outdoors but we ask that patrons maintain social distancing and continue washing hands regularly. As our COVID numbers continue to decline in the county and schools, the administration team and Buhler Board of Education officers will keep updating these policies with the most recent research. Any changes will be communicated on the Friday Gating Criteria email.