Crookston Schools returning to Level 2 of health and safety plan, removing masks for K-6

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

After a lengthy discussion and some clarification, the Crookston School Board voted to return the district to Level 2 of the health and safety plan starting December 23 which removes the mask mandate for grades K-6. In addition to the level change, they're also removing the close contact quarantine rules on the same date.

The last day of Level 3 will be December 22 which is the day students go on holiday break and they return to class January 3. On January 18 it's believed that the federal requirement for masks being worn on buses will be removed.

Superintendent Jeremy Olson noted that the level change and removal of quarantine rules is contingent on the community's COVID case numbers and if they see a huge spike or issues they have to be ready to move, but felt they should give district parents a more comprehensive plan especially since vaccinations are now available for eligible elementary-age students.

"COVID will be with us for quite a while and we can't contact trace every single year, we can't wear masks every single year; our community will not tolerate it," Olson explained.

Olson also encouraged parents to consider getting their children vaccinated.

"I want to be very clear that it has to be a parental choice and the school will not be vaccinating without parental consent," Olson added. "Please do some research on it as it is a great way to keep kids safe."

Olson's first recommendation was to do a tiered plan with the removal of masks for K-6 on December 1 and then removal of the close contact quarantine rules December 22, but a couple board members said they received emails with concerns over holiday gatherings and the lag time between vaccinations which pushed board chair Frank Fee to suggest December 22 for both the level change and close contact quarantine rule removal.

Olson also clarified that parents who want their students to continue to wear a mask will be able to do so and mentioned that his own daughter would continue to wear one until she could be vaccinated.