Eden Prairie School District will end its face-covering requirement for all students (early childhood through grade 12) on Thursday, Feb. 17.
A district email sent to families on Feb. 14 stated that the decision was made after reviewing the current COVID-19 data and seeking input from school and community leaders.
The district said that the continued use of face coverings would be strongly recommended at all grade levels and required for set periods following an isolation or quarantine per CDC guidelines.
Due to a federal mandate for transportation, all students must wear face coverings while on school buses.
“Over the last several weeks, case rates in our schools, city and county have declined dramatically; our close review of this data has informed our decision-making as we review the Safe Learning Plan,” the district said.
A rise in COVID-19 case rates due to the rapidly spreading omicron variant was why the face-covering requirement was instituted on Dec. 27. Before winter break began, only pre-K through 6th-grade students were required to wear face coverings indoors.
Last month, the district kept the requirement in place, with the plan to review the safety measure again in February.
As of Feb. 11, the number of reported 14-day COVID-19 cases in the district was 75 among pre-K-5 students, 33 among 6-12 students, and 14 among staff. Those numbers are significantly lower than the cases reported last month.
Since December, EP schools have hosted Hennepin County vaccination clinics, distributed thousands of rapid antigen tests, and made KN95 face coverings available to staff and students.
The COVID-19 vaccine, now approved for all children ages 5 and older, has offered families “a powerful way to protect their students against the impacts of the virus,” the district said.
In all pandemic-related decisions, the district’s goal is to give families the “highest amount of personal choice possible while being able to maintain in-person learning,” the district added.
“With the significant drop in transmission and case rates in our community and increased protections offered by vaccines, we are confident in our ability to provide high quality, in-person instruction while allowing families to make the safety-related decision about face coverings for their students,” the district stated. “We thank each of you for your support of our schools during this time of ongoing change.”
Any further changes to the district’s COVID-19 related health and safety measures will be posted on its website’s Safe Learning Plan page.
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