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Mid-Del School Board to consider lifting mask mandate

By Jeff Harrison

Midwest City Beacon

The Mid-Del School Board will consider lifting the district’s mask mandate at Monday’s meeting.

Superintendent Rick Cobb recommends that students and staff will not be required to wear masks while on school property due to declining cases of COVID-19. He is also asking to eliminate mandatory quarantines for close contacts.

The district has had a mask mandate and quarantine requirements in place since Sept. 7. The school board approved the policies in response to rising cases early in the school year.

Students and staff were able to opt out of the mask mandate for health, religious or personal reasons. About 5% of students and 9% of staff opted out.

Cobb outlined his recommendations in a memo to the school board. He said district staff has been monitoring positivity rates and seen a “significant decline” in cases.

Under Cobb’s proposal, the district will reinstate the mandatory quarantines and mask mandate if the COVID positive cases increase and exceed .5% of the total students and staff population for two consecutive weeks.

That .5% threshold equates to 70 new positive cases per week.

The district issues a weekly report for the number of positive cases of COVID-19. They reported 28 cases for the week of Oct. 1-7, 35 cases from Sept. 24-30, and 24 cases from Sept. 17-23.

The district has not eclipsed the .5% threshold since Sept. 3-9 when 81 cases were reported.

Cobb said students and staff have been fairly good in complying with the mask mandate. He said they asked principals and teachers to honor any form of opt-out notice that parents provided.

“Our goal is to keep students in class, not to create unnecessary conflict,” he said. “After the September 7 board vote, we really haven’t received much additional feedback. I said that night that I was looking forward to when we could lift the mandate, and I’m happy that we are already in a place where that makes sense.”

Other school districts including Edmond have taken similar action.

If the board approves Cobb’s recommendation, the mask mandate and quarantine requirements would be lifted on Oct. 12.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Mid-Del School Administration Building, 7217 SE 15th St., Midwest City.

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