Updated Board Policy Article 904, Face Coverings at School:
The Sparta Area School District will follow mandates issued by state or local agencies regarding the wearing of face coverings in school. Furthermore, the Sparta Area School District is committed to the mitigation of COVID-19 and recognizes that mask/face coverings are an important part of District mitigation efforts, regardless of whether or not state or local mandates are in effect. Therefore, for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and until the Board of Education deems it appropriate to remove this emergency policy, the following metrics will be used to determine whether or not face coverings will move from required to strongly recommended:
The vaccination rate in the 54656 zip code reaches 70%; OR
The 10-day rolling average case rate is at fifteen (15) or fewer cases in the District student/staff population for at least ten (10) consecutive days.
a. The 10-day rolling average case rate refers to the daily number of active positive cases among students and staff within the school district calculating the most recent 10 school days. This metric is updated each school day on the District website.
When the 10-day rolling average case rate reaches fifteen (15) or fewer cases for at least ten (10) consecutive days, the status for face coverings will be strongly recommended. If the 10-day rolling average case rate rises to more than fifteen (15) cases for at least (10) consecutive days, then face coverings will be required until such time as the 10-day rolling average case rate falls to fifteen (15) or fewer total positive cases for ten (10) consecutive days.
The District tracks cases and rolling averages daily. For the purposes of implementing this policy, the district will review the 10-day rolling average case rate each Wednesday. If the metrics above trigger a change in the status for face covering, the change will be communicated to families no later than Friday of that week for implementation the following Monday.
During times when face coverings are required, the following policy for wearing will apply:
- All staff and students five years of age or older are required to wear a face covering when they are at school.
- Anytime they are indoors.
- Students at the 4K level will be encouraged to wear face coverings to the extent practicable.
- Everyone is expected to wear face coverings properly, e.g., over the mouth and nose.
- Face coverings include cloth or disposable face masks. A "neck gaitor" is an acceptable alternative to a mask.
- A face shield may be worn in addition to a mask, but it is not an acceptable substitute for a mask.
- All face coverings must be school appropriate. The same standards for decency apply to face coverings as are applied to other clothing items (e.g., t-shirts).
- Face coverings may be removed to eat or drink.
- Athletic teams and Physical Education classes will follow WIAA guidance for face coverings.
All members of our school community will be required to follow these measures regarding wearing masks/face coverings during all times of the school day except as allowed by law.
In some circumstances, students with disabilities, including health conditions, may not be able to wear a mask/face covering or maintain a mask/face covering for the entirety of the day. This policy does not preclude exceptions stated in an Individualized Education Program (IEP), a 504 Plan, or required as part of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation.