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Freeport Area School District tweaks covid-19 rules in the wake of recent events

The Freeport District School Board is adjusting its health and safety plan regarding the coronavirus once again in order to keep abreast of recent developments.

The board approved the revisions unanimously on Thursday, including removing the requirement for students to wear masks at school.

Chairman Adam Tonsini said it is being implemented to comply with a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling against Governor Tom Wolfe’s Mask mandate for schools.

The latest policy amendment on masks, which Superintendent Ian Magnus said has been in place since Monday, states that students and visitors are “recommended, but not required” to wear face coverings at school and at school functions.

It’s the same policy the board took in August to start the school but was then changed to comply with the governor’s mandate.

“The board of directors, as well as staff and students, know that we will do whatever we are asked to do to keep students and staff safe,” Magnes said.

Voluntary masking isn’t the only plan change.

The district is also adjusting its rules for anyone who has covid-19 but is not showing symptoms.

Magnes and Tonsini said students, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, who are determined to come into close contact with an infected person will not be required to quarantine as long as they are asymptomatic. This applies to both jobs within the school and at school, such as extracurricular activities and athletic competitions.

However, people who have been in close contact with symptoms should immediately quarantine. They should order the test and follow the advice of their primary care physician.

Magnes said the quarantine period remains 10 days.

He said the plan review only applies to contacts within the school.

Magnes and Tonsini said the plan continues to require all staff and students, whether asymptomatic or asymptomatic, who have had close contact with a person with the infection occurring in homes “immediately quarantine for the entire specified time frame.”

Another modification to the plan is that anyone who visits the nurse’s ward at the school will be required to wear a mask.

The board set all changes to take effect on Monday.

Magnus said the changes “were not a recommendation from the district health and safety committee.”

However, when Magnus was asked about the committee’s recommendation, he only replied, “Our goal is to keep schools open for children.”

He said the committee had a request regarding a review of the plan being adopted.

“If the board is going to do that, they’re waiting until January 17th. That should get us far enough away from the holidays,” Magnus said.

Health officials across the country expect coronavirus cases to rise due to holiday gatherings.

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