LPS releases Safe Return to Schools Plan for upcoming year

10/11 NOW at 5
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 5:56 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Friday we are hearing from Lincoln Public School’s new Superintendent Paul Gausman about this year’s Safe Return to Schools Plan.

Right now, for those heading back to any building on Aug. 15, masks will not be required.

The plan is more relaxed than in previous school years with more tools available now to prevent COVID-19. This year, even preschoolers can get vaccinated.

“The guiding priorities for us are most important and the number one guiding priority we have is to keep our schools open, we know that students learn best when they’re with staff members often in the very same room, doing all that they can to move education forward,” Dr. Gausman said.

Gausman does add that doesn’t mean the plan won’t change. Requirements for masking may be implemented for a specific school building, program, classroom, or setting based on the number of positive cases, outbreaks, community conditions, and risk of spread.

“I do suspect that for the time being that this targeted model for masking will be our mannerism for the protocol for the entirety of the district,” Dr. Gausman said.

As for those who test positive for COVID-19, they’re expected to stay home for five days from the first sign of symptoms. The guidelines say that upon returning to school students and staff should be wearing a mask for five days as well, but it’s unclear how closely that will be enforced.

“We still have a protocol for staff to notify us of the illness and we’ve changed the way in which we’re doing some of the maskings,” Dr. Gausman said.

Vaccinations are not required for students or staff returning to school but the district said they are proven to be one of the best defenses against the spread of severe illness and families should consider them as part of their plans.

‘That’s part of the reason we’re able to make these changes for the next school year and not have a universal mask mandate in place because there are different tools that are available to all families in addition to masking,” Dr. Gausman said.

The district has also created a COVID-19 dashboard just for LPS that will launch on the first day of school. That portal will list the total positive COVID-19 cases identified in each building and across the entire district. That will replace the daily emails that are used to notify families and staff.

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