Mask Updates Beginning Feb 22, 2022

Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 2/18/2022 11:00:00 AM

ECS families.

We’ve taken MANY steps toward normal this year.  Each of them has been a welcome change for some and a really frightening change for others.  At times, we’ve had to step back to a more restrictive plan as our community impacts have worsened.  Through each of these steps, our administration and our Board of Directors have focused on safety and in person learning.  Our guidance has always started with our state guidelines, specifically the StrongSchools Toolkit.  Within this toolkit, there have been requirements (things we have to do) and recommendations (things that we should consider for our community). We have always followed all requirements and have followed the recommendations the experts in our community have felt best met our particular school’s needs. 

Our school will begin the next step forward on Tuesday. We will begin making masks optional for people on our campus.  The Board’s decision on this issue is in line with the direction we are seeing from our State leadership.  Just yesterday, Governor Cooper encouraged all North Carolina municipalities and school boards to end their mask mandates in the coming weeks.  

Nevertheless, we know that students and staff members have varying risk factors and varying comfort levels with masking.  We want everyone to feel confident about making this choice with their family.  I encourage each family to think and talk this weekend to make decisions about your expectations for your students on campus.  Our teachers will not be expected to supervise those masking decisions, so it is imperative that students understand their family’s expectations. 

In keeping with the Toolkit, ECS will still require students and staff members to wear masks on campus for 5 days upon returning to campus after any COVID-19 case isolation.  Families can review the full policy here on the ECS website, but the key points are described below.

  1. Individuals (including staff, students, and/or visitors) may choose, but are not required to, wear a face covering on ECS grounds, including indoors, except in certain limited circumstances;
  2. Individuals are required to mask for 5 days following return to school from isolation due to a positive test and/or symptoms of COVID-19 (masks not required during lunch or outdoor activities);
  3. ECS will keep updated records of student who must mask following isolation, and such masking will be enforced using the honor system. Students found in violation of the 5-day post-isolation masking requirement will be sent home for the remainder of the original 10-day isolation period.

We also know that all students who ride the YMCA bus and the Pride Ride will continue to be required to wear a mask on the bus in compliance with federal regulations.  Those families must be sure to continue packing a mask each day.  

As with all steps back toward normal, we will continue to evaluate this step and its impact on our community.  We will adjust if needed.  Our Board of Directors will continue to discuss our masking policy at the monthly Board of Directors meetings. I wish you each a wonderful, long weekend and look forward to seeing everyone back on campus on Tuesday!

Christi Whiteside, MSA

ECS Director