GIPS temporarily returns to masking
Effective Tuesday, August 10, 2021 Grand Island Public Schools will temporarily require masks for all PK-12 staff, students and visitors while inside school buildings, due to the rising and prolonged COVID-19 transmission rates in our community.
Students participating in school-approved activities (such as performers and athletes) are currently not required to wear a mask. We will continue to review NSAA guidelines.
GIPS will reevaluate the decision to require masks on Monday, September 27. Masks and hand sanitizer will continue to be available for those who need them.
GIPS is following the Safe Return to School Plan that went into effect August 1, which is available on our website. The plan states that masks will be encouraged, supported, and optional unless "Substantial Transmission" of 50 cases per 100,000 occur in Hall County as indicated by total new cases.
When implementing any changes in protocols such as masks, GIPS considers the threshold and data that may directly impact schools such as illnesses, absences, and/or hospitalizations.
Current Hall County case rates are well above the threshold, at 80 cases per 100,000. When monitoring the pandemic, GIPS works with and considers information from the Central District Health Department, the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Global Center for Health Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
We have closely monitored the local COVID-19 case rates, and were hopeful the start of school would be different from last year. The challenges of this pandemic persist, and the Delta variant is proving to be a major concern, especially among children. GIPS has made the decision to temporarily require masks as a proactive measure to keep students and staff safe, and to keep schools open. It is critical that our students stay in school and that we start the year strong, so we can finish the year strong.
Safety remains our top priority, and we want our students to continue to learn, grow and thrive. GIPS will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in our community by gathering research and engaging with the Central District Health Department and local medical professionals to ensure a safe school environment.
We thank our families, staff, students and community for their support. Masks or no masks, our mission stays the same: Every Student, Every Day, A Success. We will get through this together. We are One GIPS for All!
-Dr. Tawana Grover, GIPS Superintendent