New guidelines makes masks optional for now at LISD campuses


From staff reports

Masks are once again recommended but not required at Lockhart ISD campuses following the board of trustees’ approval of new district COVID-19 guidelines that allow for protocols to be adjusted at specific campuses as positivity rates rise or fall at those facilities.
The response matrix was developed after the board in September directed staff to come up with guidelines that would help the district with decision making with respect to the current COVID-19 climate.
The guidelines, which are comprised of four levels, go into effect when the COVID-19 positivity rate in Caldwell County falls below 25 percent. The county’s current rate is 6.02 percent.
In Lockhart, campus positivity rates currently range between 0 and .35 percent. There are just five active student COVID-19 cases.
“For this reason, given the board’s approval of this COVID-19 Response Matrix, the district is now at Level 1,” Superintendent Mark Estrada wrote in a letter to parents and guardians. “This means we continue to have a heightened awareness and continue to follow the recommended protocols as outlined in the district’s Leading Forward document. The use of masks indoors is now recommended, not required.
“We encourage everyone to continue frequent handwashing, maintain social distancing when possible, and continue monitoring symptoms each day for anything unusual.”
Estrada said parents should continue to use the health notification form in order to report to notify the district of a confirmed case of COVID-19, close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or children showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
The numbers and measures within the document were developed based upon the school district’s experiences with the district’s response to and management of COVID-19.
“Also, its guidelines align with CDC recommendations and the practices of the district throughout this pandemic,” Estrada wrote. “Throughout its development, LISD shared the document with the Caldwell County chief medical officer for review, and he approved.”
Deputy Superintendent Kim Raymond said absences per day had been reduced dramatically, with one spike on Oct. 14, the day school delayed opening due to reports of flooding in the county.
For Level 1 guidance, a campus must have between 0 and .9 percent of campus students and staff with active COVID-19 cases. Daily disinfecting of campuses and additional cleaning of classrooms following a positive case continues. Masks are recommended and unvaccinated students and staff members are quarantined for household cases.
Mask-wearing is required at a campus for a period of 30 days at Level 3, which takes effect when a school has between 3-9.9 percent of students and staff with active COVID-19 cases.
A campus is temporarily closed for 1-10 days when more than 10 percent of students and staff have active COVID-19 cases or there is an inability to adequately staff schools. At that threshold, the entire student body for that campus will learn via remote conferencing.
The board approved the matrix 5-0, with District 4 trustee Warren Burnett abstaining.


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