WARREN (Erie News Now) – This week, Warren County went from substantial to high COVID transmission rates according to the CDC website. Some parents might be wondering what this means for this child going to school, will they have to wear a mask?
Parents all over the country are looking to make the decision when sending their kids back to school. In Erie County, they’re requiring all students to wear a mask at all public and private districts. In Warren County, that’s not the reality for them just yet.
Last year, students in the Warren District were mostly in person, with the exception of a few weeks by the holidays when they were sent online for staffing issues.
Warren Area High School Principal, Jeff Flickner is excited to welcome students back next week and emphasizes the choice they have whether or not they want to be masked up.
“Probably the big difference is kids aren’t going to be required to wear face coverings. It’s optional, if a student wants to wear a face covering, they certainty can do that, same with the adults in the building. We still are going to have directional travel, in our hallways and stairwells,” says Flickner.
Along with directional travel, there is also hand sanitizer in the hallways. Students also have to check their COVID symptoms when they walk into school.
“This week will be a really big week of looking at the data and seeing what it is that is happening so it’s learning what it is we need to do,” explains Warren County School District Superintendent.
The debate of whether or not to require mask over in the Warren School District continues. Superintendent Amy Stewart has been receiving calls all summer from parents on both sides of the aisle.
“Of course, we have parents reaching out to us, on both sides of the issue saying ‘hey, we’re really glad you’re not making us mask in schools’ or ‘I wish that you would [require masks],” says Stewart.
As of this morning, WCSD are not requiring masks inside school. Stewart explains they’re following all of the federal guidelines when it comes to face coverings, and says the only time masks are required are on the bus.
“The federal guidelines tell us we have to require masks on public transportation, which they’re calling school buses public transportation. Controversial, but they’ve named us so that’s what we need to do,” says Stewart.
With the delta variant disrupting districts around the country, Stewart emphasizes WCSD’s goal of keeping students one hundred percent in person.
“It’s going to be one of those things where we have to prioritize school. We want kids to be in school. That’s who we are, that’s what we’re about. So we’re just going to have to play this by ear, see how things go and how they progress, and what we need to do to manage,” says Stewart.
In terms of vaccine clinics, Stewart says when there’s need for the vaccine, they’ll plan accordingly with local hospitals.