The following is a summary with excerpts from community comments regarding the district’s Safe In-person Learning Plan and mitigation efforts in response to COVID-19
August 16th, 2021:
It is our hope to not have masks this school year. We think there were some great boundaries established last year in an effort to stop the spread of any sickness. Less students at tables, students not serving themselves, to name a couple. We aren’t saying everything should be dismissed and life resume as it did pre-COVID, but if we could see one thing change it would be the mask requirements.
I feel that the best possible way to protect our students, our staff members and their families, along with keeping the school fully open for in person learning, is to require all students and school staff to wear masks in the buildings and to maintain as much social distancing, cleaning and limited shared materials as possible. I feel that considering the circumstances, we had a fairly safe school year last year and we need to maintain that since the pandemic is definitely not over.
Please do not make masks mandatory by either students or staff. My suggestion is masks if you want. I believe almost all of the staff is fully vaccinated so our risk is minimal. From all my research, transmission is more likely from students to staff rather than the other way around. I could not mandate vaccinating as I believe it is not within our rights.
I feel as though requiring them yet again for everyone would be asking for trouble, especially after we haven’t been required to wear them since school let out in June. I just simply don’t feel like we’ll get everyone on board for that again. I forsee a lot of downright refusals. Do we have a plan for that? Are we really not going to allow them in the building if they won’t mask? And if so, who is going to enforce that? I feel as if parents should simply have a choice to have their child wear a mask. Masks are effective, and can certainly be sent to school with a child if their parents have concerns. This seems much more realistic, and gives the parents a choice.
I am going to be very honest with you that, for the first time in my career, I am not looking forward to starting the school year at all, especially if we are mandated to wear masks or take an experimental drug that’s said to be a vaccine. No matter which side people come down on, we are so divided in our country and it has made its way to our school as well. I hope we will be able to come together and do what’s best for all, especially our students and families in our community.
We were fortunate last year when, to my knowledge,our school did not experience any serious cases of Covid. I believe that was because you followed the guidance of the CDC and MN Public Health. Please continue to utilize these agencies as your resources for decision making. I realize we are remote and our school is small, but that makes any Covid tragedy even harder on our community. We all want to keep our students in school, and the best way we have to do that is by taking proactive health measures. Please allow the health professionals to be your guides.
August 17th, 2021
Obviously we all would prefer to not have masks be a requirement. As I’m fully vaccinated (which I feel was pushed quite hard by administration/MDH), I would like to believe I shouldn’t be required to wear a mask. I’m not sure what the school will do for students refuse to wear masks during the school day (or whose parents who won’t make their kids wear masks). I’m not sure if distance learning is an option this year or not, as far as I know that hasn’t been shared with staff yet. However, I think we need to consider everyone’s opinions. Personally, I know a lot of people in the community have publicized that they refuse to send their students to school if masks are required, and some who have said they would pull their students from our school.
I have watched my grand children try to wear masks in school last year and honestly it was awful to watch. They end up soaking wet because the kids just chew on them, they sneeze or
cough in them and then breathe that wetness in all day. I have watched them and others as their attitude and psyche deteriorate as soon as they have to put the mask on. Kids need to breathe…they need to be in school and concentrate on their learning and not worry about the stupid masks…there is such a low chance of children getting COVID anyway and if they do get it there’s a higher chance of them being just fine and not even knowing they have it. I vote NO masks ..it should optional for all school age kids.
Phone message from Grandparent/guardian of a student attending school was in favor of following CDC recommendations and mandating the wearing of mask indoors at school.
I understand that people don’t want to wear masks but it is the safest for our students who don’t qualify for the vaccine yet, immune suppressed people, and our community in general. It would be so unfortunate if students had to return to online learning because of high Covid transmission. Vaccinating those who are eligible to receive the vaccine and masking those who can’t is our way back to “normal”.
We would prefer the Board does NOT make masks mandatory within the School. We understand that this is a challenging decision for the Board to make. If a compromise needs to be made, we would vote to make it OPTIONAL for each individual. Do not discourage the wearing of a mask for those who believe it provides them a level of protection. And on the other end, do not force an individual to wear a mask if they believe it offers them no protection..
I vote for no masks and no jabs, as it isn’t a vaccine until approved by FDA. I’m telling people you don’t pay real estate for 5 years, and the 6th year all back taxes must be paid, if we have to put up with false information.. I had Covid 19 , and I had a 99.8 percent change of making it.I stay away from people that wear masks, as they more more bacteria and disease.
As a parent of 2 teenagers, I’d like to have my thoughts known on the back to school protocol. First off, I’m not a fan of them masking again. The kids have sacrificed enough over the last year and a half. So many of them struggle with masks, with fogging of glasses, acne, they’re a distraction, they get moist/dirty and they are hardly ever worn properly anyways. I see psychological harm in them. It leaves the kids looking emotionless and actually it seems dehumanizing to a certain degree. How can teachers or students even “read” each other?
These are such difficult times and as retired teachers, parents of a teacher, and grandparents of little ones, we are very concerned. Schools do need to be open, and to be open in the safest ways possible for ALL. Vaccination and masks provide the most protection against the spread of the disease, which is why these options must be utilized. Those concerned about their “freedom,” declaring that no one can tell them what to do are disregarding what it takes to live in a society. This is not just about you and your family when your lack of cooperation threatens the lives of others. We all want the schools and businesses to stay open, and we all want to stay as healthy as possible, but we have to work together to do so.
(Retired Teacher/Community Member)
As a parent of two children on the elementary side, I personally feel that masks could be recommended but not required. Families that feel strongly that they want their kids masked can have their kids masked and families on the other side of the argument wouldn’t have to be required to mask their kids up. Then it could be left up to each family as to which option they choose. In our situation, we have one child who really doesn’t mind wearing masks and the other already struggles in school and finds masks to be even more of a hindrance in the learning environment. I just feel that each family should have the option to mask up or not.
While my children do not attend Lake of the Woods School, we are members of this community and benefited from the attention given to preventing community spread of this devastating virus last year. I had not intended on offering my feedback this year because of the success of last years plan, and the data driven back to school plans put forth by MDH and CDC this year. I felt we were in good hands, that you, the staff, and school board would have all the information you needed to support you in making the best possible plans for safe learning this year. After this morning though, I feel very uneasy. A customer, who is also a member of your staff, expressed some very strong, and unsafe opinions today. We don’t discuss politics with customers but this person felt the need to express a long list of falsehoods and I don’t want those types of opinions to guide any decision making.I know you are well aware of the facts, and that there can be no value put on opinions when ignoring experts and data can and will have life or death consequences. The Delta variant is more dangerous than the strain we were dealing with last year, and has shown that it is not only more easily spread but may cause more severe disease, even among children. Our community resources can NOT support a large outbreak, nor do we want to see life long complications or death of any of our community members, especially its children.
September 2nd, 2021
Thanks for the heads up on this, and your communication out to everyone. I don’t envy the position you’re in and it’s tough to please everyone (and keep the kids safe). But I think this is a good compromise, and a good way to start the year in light of everything that is going on.
September 21st, 2021
A parent shared the level of symptoms of himself , wife, and 4 children who tested positive. All are experience mild cold-like symptoms… “Current status is everyone is in good spirits and just waiting to resume normal life, I thought maybe this update would shed some light onto such a dark perception of COVID-19. I really appreciate you and your groups efforts to maintain in school learning as well as the masks being optional dependent on preference. I hope we could emphasize everyone’s progress through the virus rather than only focusing on people that get the virus and making it out to be a horrible thing. CHI Lakewood did tell us that children in most cases only exhibit mild cold like symptoms if any, I feel that supports the decision making in keeping the school system running full strength. In our instance COVID has been nothing more than any other virus we have delt with as a family.