Mora school students, staff and visitors will be required to wear face coverings during school hours starting Monday, Sept. 27. After one month, the decision will be re-evaluated. At this time masks will be required for Mora elementary students; not students at the high school.
The requirement is part of the school’s new COVID-19 Mitigation Matrix which takes into consideration transmission rates of COVID-19 in each building.
As the number of students per school building who test positive for COVID-19 during a 7-day period increases, the rules regarding masking and other school operations become more restrictive. As transmission rates reduce, the rules relax. (See COVID-19 Mitigation Matrix chart for details.)
The Mora School Board approved the new matrix during a special school board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 16.
The decision divided the Mora School Board’s vote. The motion to approve the new COVID-19 mitigation strategy was passed 4-2: Members Robert Jensen, Scott Moe, Bob Woods and Tammy Bohachek voted in favor; members Matt Heggernes and Deb Hallin voted opposed.
The decision drew heat from parents who spoke during the meeting. While the meeting was recorded, Superintendent Dan Voce said the school will not be posting the recording to their YouTube channel because “there was obscene language used during the meeting that is inappropriate for young viewers.”
In a letter to parents, students and staff, Voce said the decision to re-evaluate safety requirements was based on rising cases of COVID-19, a high positivity test rate within Kanabec County of 11%.
“There has also been an increase in the number of elementary school age students who have tested positive for COVID-19,” wrote Voce.
“Currently, there are five Mora Elementary School students who are positive COVID-19 cases, approximately 0.6 % of MES age population.”
When all Mora Elementary students are wearing masks properly, students who are close contacts will not be required to quarantine. Students and staff who are determined to be close contacts who are not masked, or not vaccinated, will be required to quarantine for 10 or 7 days.
Voce said these decisions help the school to prioritize in-person learning, safety, and providing consistent schedules for families.