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On September 22, Superintendent David Blackburn released the following statement:

Dear Salida Community,

Fourteen days ago we required masks to be worn at school.  We want to first thank students, family, and staff for supporting the response. We understand not everyone agrees, and we appreciate the respectful manner in which parents have brought their opposing viewpoints forward.  These issues connected to COVID-19 response are not linear, they are not singular, and they are not black and white.  The conditions are changing constantly and our response will as well.

Fourteen days ago we had two clusters of cases appear at the high school, which required further investigation.  I am happy to report that the transmission was not in our classrooms. In both cases, the transmission occurred during social interactions outside of school.  In addition, our positive cases are down.  In the last two days, we have tested approximately 300 student-athletes and all continue to be negative.  We continue to test any families interested in testing and/or symptomatic students. We continue to see no school transmission. Your schools are safe.

Image by William Wooddell.

In general, I support a mask mandate, but the current local school data does not support this requirement.  On Monday, September 27, the schools will encourage all to wear masks, but not require it.  We will continue to require masking of all guests and all individuals during inside extracurricular events, with the only exception being athletes on the court.  If the local data about our school changes, we will change.  I will continue to wear a mask at school, and the best general advice is to wear one.

As we have planned, and found success last year, when risks increase we will add layers of protection, including masks. The opposite has to also be true, that when risks decrease our response will loosen. Not everyone agrees with this decision, and as we know better we will do better.