Kalamazoo Public Schools will continue its universal mask mandate through the second trimester, which begins Nov. 29 and runs through March 11.
The district announced its plans in a communication sent to families on Oct. 18.
The mask update was released to help families that are in KPS Virtual School with their decision whether to move to in-person learning for the remainder of the school year. Those families must make their decision on whether to transfer to in-person by 11 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 24. Superintendent Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri also said she wanted to share the news of the updated mandate to keep all families informed of the district’s COVID-19 safety protocols.
“With an anticipated increase in large social gatherings for the holidays, the approaching influenza season, and the lack of vaccine availability for our younger students, keeping our mask mandate in place is our best strategy to avoid having to revert to remote learning for large groups of students,” Raichoudhuri said in the letter to families. “The mask mandate will be reassessed before the beginning of the third trimester on March 14. The mandate could be adjusted for the remainder of the school year based on grade bands (elementary, middle, and high school) and vaccine availability.”
KPS is following a layered mitigation strategy outlined in its 2021-22 health and safety plan. Emphasizing that safety begins at home, students, teachers, and staff are expected to stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and to visit their healthcare provider for testing and care. Parents are asked to screen their children for illness each morning. The district encourages anyone who is eligible for the vaccine or booster to be vaccinated. KPS has collaborated with healthcare partners to host vaccine clinics. A Pfizer booster clinic will be held in the Kalamazoo Central parking lot on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Details and registration information will be announced as soon as they are available.
“KPS will continue to operate with safety first in mind by modeling the behavior we want our children to follow, as we help them learn about collective responsibility and our civic duty to care for others,” Raichoudhuri said.