Mechanicsburg schools to require short-term masking for certain classes due to COVID cases

Mechanicsburg schools will now require short term masking for certain classes due to positive COVID-19 cases. Here, Hope Stickley, a nurse from the Champaign County Health Department, gave a student the COVID vaccine earlier this year during a COVID clinic in one of Mechanicsburg High School's gymnasiums. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
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Mechanicsburg schools will now require short term masking for certain classes due to positive COVID-19 cases. Here, Hope Stickley, a nurse from the Champaign County Health Department, gave a student the COVID vaccine earlier this year during a COVID clinic in one of Mechanicsburg High School's gymnasiums. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Order to last at least 10 days for high school, six other classes.

Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools will have short-term masking requirements in place for certain classes due to positive coronavirus cases.

According to the district’s website, the high school and six other classes are required to wear masks for at least 10 days. Students in high school, one kindergarten, one first grade, two third grads, one seventh and one eighth grade classes started wearing masks on certain days this week and are anticipated to wear them through Sept. 23, 24 or 27.

Superintendent Danielle Prohaska said the district decided to implement the 10-day masking requirement to “preserve face-to-face instruction and engagement with students.”

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“The district’s been tracking both positive cases and quarantines since the start of the school year. We are seeing unprecedented numbers in both areas compared to last year. ... Quarantines keep our students from face-to-face instruction, from extracurricular opportunities, from athletics, for as many as 10 days. ... We have to make every attempt to mitigate this learning loss that happens when we keep kids from school,” Prohaska said.

“In the absence of state mandates, the shift to masking requirements following a positive case does one very important thing, it keeps more students in the classroom by preventing second and third waves of quarantines, which we are currently experiencing in many grade levels across the district,” she added.

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The district reported 41 cumulative cases, including 10 at Dohron Wilson Elementary, 11 at the middle school, 11 at the high school and nine district staff, according to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard.

“We are seeing breakthrough cases in the district. We are seeing cases of positive students and staff, even though masking is in place. We are now seeing for the first time close contacts who have been quarantined become symptomatic and test positive,” Prohaska said.

Prohaska said the short-term masking will continue to be evaluated and more changes may be necessary to keep students in classrooms.

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