GFPS requiring masks for all students, staff due to high COVID rates

Beginning Sept. 27, masks will be required for all students, staff and visitors at Great Falls Public Schools while in school and at all school events.

The mask requirement will remain in place until the local COVID-19 transmission rates drop back to the moderate level and stays low for at least one full week, according to a GFPS release.

This week, the Cascade County City-County Health Department said that the local case rate was 100 per 100,000 and the positivity rate was 12.7 percent.

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“Both are indicators of a high community transmission rate. Based on the school district’s policy, when community transmission rates reach this point, we will implement some additional health and safety protocols, to include mask requirements,” according to the GFPS release.

In August, the school board adopted a policy giving the superintendent the authority to adjust health protocols based on local COVID data.

“To begin the school year, if the number of active COVID-19 cases in Cascade County increases to the point of being considered “substantial-high” rate of transmission as defined by the Centers for Disease Control, the Board of Trustees directs the Superintendent to implement a requirement for face coverings to be worn in district buildings and indoor-spaces where deemed necessary based on local data,” according to the adopted school board policy.

GFPS will also be limiting access to school facilities by outside groups for the next few weeks until the same lower case rate levels are reached.

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Student athletic activities will continue this week as scheduled but there will be health and safety protocols requiring masks when students and coaches are in close proximity. Spectators are asked to wear masks at all athletic events at this time.

Parents, staff and students are reminded to monitor health and wellbeing each day. Those feeling sick and/or exhibiting any flu-like symptoms, should stay home and contact their healthcare provider.

For questions or concerns, contact your school administration, according to GFPS.