As districts in Orange County continue to prepare for schools to reopen in August, all of these rapidly developing plans are being built in reference to the guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health, the Orange County Health Care Agency, and the Orange County Department of Education. In Superintendent Walker’s June 25 communication to the IUSD community, the information provided reflected the current guidelines for Orange County schools as set forth by the above agencies. As it relates to the wearing of masks in classrooms by students, the IUSD Board of Education has not formally considered, and therefore has not made a decision, whether the District should go beyond the current state and county guidelines.
There has been some confusion or misinformation that IUSD has made a decision about masks that is “anti-mask” or “anti-science.” IUSD would like to assure our community that neither assumption is correct. The Board and District leadership will continue to examine the guidelines for Orange County schools, which are evolving, while monitoring health conditions in our county and state before making final decisions. This includes masks and face coverings for both students and staff. Please note, however, in anticipation of the start of the new school year, IUSD has already procured enough cloth coverings and face shields to support free access for all students and staff. In addition, IUSD is working with the California Office of Emergency Services to secure an additional 141,000 cloth and disposable masks for students.
Throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis, IUSD has closely monitored the impact of the pandemic, worked with expert agencies and adapted, as necessary, to support the health and wellbeing of our more than 36,000 students and over 4,000 staff, while maintaining our promise to provide academic excellence and equity. This process has centered on student and staff safety, which will remain a priority and will help guide our decisions.
During the regularly scheduled July 14 Board of Education Meeting, the Board will consider the Task Force recommendations and further details about the proposed academic models and related guidelines for schools. If the current county and state guidelines about masks do not change in the future, the District will consider at a later time whether to adopt more stringent requirements.
To watch the Board Meeting online, click here or tune into Cox Channel 39.