Passengers on Eden Prairie school buses and other transportation vehicles no longer are required to wear face coverings as of March 2 following new advice from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), according to a district spokesperson.
“The CDC announced this change on Friday afternoon (Feb. 25),” according to Brett Johnson, senior director of communications and community relations. “People who want to wear face coverings are always welcome to do so.”
On Jan. 31, 2001, the CDC issued an order that required face coverings on all modes of public transportation, including school buses.
“Effective February 25, 2022, CDC is exercising its enforcement discretion to not require that people wear masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs,” according to a posting on the CDC’s website.
The new guidance comes as COVID-19 cases have declined substantially over the past few weeks in Eden Prairie, Hennepin County and across much of the country.
Eden Prairie’s COVID-19 case rate was 42.7 per 10,000 residents at the end of the two-week period ending Feb. 14, according to the Hennepin County COVID-19 public dashboard. That compares to 316.1 cases per 10,000 residents as of Jan. 17.
The Eden Prairie Schools’ COVID Dashboard reported 64 positive cased in. the two-week period ending Feb. 25. That compares to a total of 800 positive cases in the two-week period ending Jan. 14.
Fifty-three cases were reported in Pre-K through 5th grade, 19 in grades 6-12, and 11 in staff. There are 1,825 staff members and 8,976 students in the district, according to the dashboard.
“We appear to be clearly out of our COVID staffing crisis for the immediate future,” according to a report by Superintendent Josh Swanson at the Feb. 28 school board meeting. “Everyone has felt (the omicron) wave in some way and lots of students and staff have not reported having COVID.” Many more probably didn’t report or had no symptoms, he added.
Grades 6-12 reported a total of eight COVID cases and no quarantines the week of Feb. 21. Those grades comprise about 5,000 students. Pre-K through 5th grade had 10 cases and four active quarantines last week. Those grades have 4,291 students, Swanson said.
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