School implements mask mandate

Luverne students, staff required to wear facial coverings now through Oct. 1

Increased coronavirus activity is prompting Luverne School officials to implement a district-wide mask mandate, effective immediately.

Superintendent Craig Oftedahl corresponded with parents and guardians electronically Monday indicating that everyone inside the school building must wear a facial covering.

“There has been a lot of illness activity in our health office and we have several students and staff who are currently quarantined due to close contact with a positive COVID case,” he wrote. “The medical community has also seen an increase in COVID activity in the past week.”

The district has seven active COVID-19 cases, as of Sept. 13. The school year began Sept. 7.

Three cases are in the elementary and four at the high school.

“We have worked with the Minnesota Department of Health on each of these cases to identify close contacts in order to determine steps to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Oftedahl indicated. “If your child is identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case at school, the school district will contact you.”

As of Friday, Sept. 10, the number of positive cases in the District was at two. By Monday afternoon, five additional cases were reported.

“The medical community has also seen an increase in COVID activity in the past week,” Oftedahl wrote.

The medical community is recommending that masks be worn in order to curb the spread of the virus.

The mask mandate will last through Oct. 1.

Oftedahl indicated that the medical community expects the current COVID surge is to peak around the end of September or the beginning of October.

In that timeframe, school administrators, along with members of the district’s incident command team, will evaluate case numbers and make adjustments as needed.

“Keeping children in school is critical to their emotional health and well-being and their educational success,” Oftedahl stressed. “The Luverne School District is committed to in-person learning for all students throughout the 2021-2022 school year. This is only possible with the cooperation of families and students.”

He encouraged parents and guardians to remember the following:

•Keep children who are ill and not feeling well at home.

•Take advantage of the testing options when students and parents are exhibiting symptoms.

•Continue to report cases among families and students with our school nurse, Phil Paquette.

•Wear a mask and encourage others to mask up.

•Take advantage of vaccinations for those who are age eligible.

•Maintain social distancing when possible.

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