The first 57 minutes of this week’s school board meeting were taken up by public comments made by people voicing their thoughts on mask policies in Winterset schools. 

The public opinion was evenly split between people asking for a mask mandate and people opposing any such rule. 

Some parents stated that they had kept their children home from school only because there was no mask mandate in place, while others stated that they would reconsider sending their children to school if they had to wear masks. 

Updated recommendations for masks and face coverings were discussed and approved during the board meeting. Board member Jim Olson was the only member to vote against the update, stating that he would like to make it more restrictive and “mandate masking”. 

Several changes have been made to the original recommendation regarding when face masks will be required of students. 

Mask recommendations

Masks will be recommended in areas where staff will be unable to maintain cohort groupings within classrooms and small group settings. They will also be recommended to provide staff with underlying conditions some added safety measures.

Masks will be required upon entering district buildings, and will be worn when not in the classroom. Exceptions to this are PE, recess, lunch, etc. 

When singing in music or playing an instrument in band, masks will be worn. 

Masks will be required during emergency drills. 

Masks will be worn at the teachers’ discretion when grouping outside of cohorts in classrooms (for example, Title grouping, special education grouping, intervention grouping). 

Student sections at athletic events that are indoors will require masks. Six of 10 RRC schools currently have this requirement. 

Masks will be worn in the classroom of a staff member with a pre-existing medical condition. Teachers who have pre-existing conditions will need to provide a doctor’s note to the district.

Teachers will then need to reach out to the parents of the students within their classes explaining the need for students to wear a mask in their classroom, based on what they are willing to share about their condition or the condition of the family member living in their home.

If students refuse to wear a mask in these situations, the administration will contact the parents and explain the situation. 

Students refusing to comply will be asked to wear a mask, will have their parents called, and may be asked to leave for the day.