Governor Hutchinson communicated today he will let the mask mandate expire on Wednesday, March 31.
At the March school board meeting, the possibility of this happening was discussed at length. For many reasons, it was decided to continue all COVID-19 safety precautions through the end of the school year. Bryant Schools will continue its current practice of requiring teachers, students and visitors to wear masks in all schools and district facilities. Social distancing will also be continued.
Our COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including the mask mandate, have allowed us to keep our schools open. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance stating proper mask wearing may now prevent individuals from being identified as close contacts in K-12 schools that have implemented a mask mandate. This means that if both individuals at school – the person diagnosed with COVID-19 and the person exposed to the positive case – have masks on and are wearing them correctly, the individual exposed does not need to quarantine. At this time we are awaiting direction from the Arkansas Department of Health. If the ADH issues this guidance for schools, it will have a significant impact on reducing the number of students who must quarantine.
The district does plan to offer flexibility when possible, bringing back activities such as kindergarten and fifth grade graduation ceremonies at the end of school. We are also looking at opening seating capacity for baseball and softball events. Before any changes are implemented, however, the potential rise of COVID-19 cases from Spring Break travel will be evaluated and decisions will be based on the health and safety of our Bryant students and staff.
With the end of the school year less than nine weeks away, we will continue to focus on educating our students and maintaining a safe teaching and learning environment. We hope our Hornet family will support our safety efforts so we can finish our school year strong.