Today, the Madison Metropolitan School District shared with families its COVID-19 safety plan for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. The MMSD COVID-19 Safety Plan was developed in collaboration with local and state health experts, and in alignment with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
Key universal practices in the MMSD COVID-19 Safety Plan include:
- Masks will be required for students and staff while inside school buildings and on buses
- No masks required during outdoor activities or while eating or drinking
- Maintaining a minimum three feet of physical distancing (when possible) for all individuals
- Scheduled cleaning of district buildings throughout the day
- Following practices of proper handwashing, respiratory etiquette and monitoring symptoms
“During in-person learning last spring, we followed the science (and the guidance) to ensure we kept students safe as they connected with friends, teachers, and staff,” Superintendent Carlton Jenkins said in a statement. “Together, we have made great progress, nevertheless now is not a time for complacency. We must continue to be diligent in following the guidance of health experts and practicing safety protocols in order to provide safe, healthy in-person learning environments.”
In a joint statement with the school district, Madison Teachers Inc. President Michael Jones said, “As a school community we have been successful in establishing the norms of following the science and implementing layered mitigation strategies to preserve maximum health and safety for everyone who enters an MMSD school. Due to emerging variants, keeping in place a multi-layered mitigation strategy, developed in our collaborative effort, is what is best for our students and families.”
The MMSD COVID-19 Safety Plan was developed in collaboration with state and local health experts, and in alignment with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Health experts continue to recommend masks as an effective tool for schools to keep COVID-19 metrics down; allow students to be physically together; and provide opportunities for safe, engaging, and equitable in-person learning environments for students.
“There is a real temptation to feel, because we’ve improved, the pandemic is over and everyone is safe,” UW-Madison Pathobiological Sciences professor Dr. Thomas Friedrich said in a statement. “This notion is not true. What we can’t afford is to backslide now. We need to consider all the important things we are currently able to do that we previously couldn’t, due to the success of these interventions.”
“Where the rubber hits the road is on masking,” Dr. Gregory P. DeMuri, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UW-Madison, said in a statement. “We mask so we can have a safe, productive school year; keep our schools open; and have sports and co-curriculars like band and all those great things our kids are doing now that they weren’t doing a year ago.”
The district informed families it will provide additional safety information in the upcoming days around its plan for a full return to athletics and co-curriculars.