Updated:
Original:

Rochester schools considering changes to mask rules to require them for everyone

The school board will consider the proposal, as well as others, on Aug. 17.

Rochester public schools will vote next week on a change to the mask policy for the upcoming school year. 

In late July, the Rochester School Board unanimously approved mask guidelines that interim Superintendent Kent Pekel recommended that include requiring face coverings for students between the ages of 2-11, while masks were encouraged for everyone else. 

Now, at its Aug. 17 meeting, the school board will consider requiring masks for everyone in all school buildings, regardless of vaccination status, according to meeting documents. Masks wouldn't be required outside. 

A memo from Pekel to the board on Aug. 12 about the district's Safe Learning Plan says he wants to strengthen his original mask proposal as the delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread. He's also proposing that vaccine clinics operate at school buildings in partnership with Olmsted County, which Pekel hopes will help increase vaccination rates among students, staff and community members. 

Pekel also seeks authority from the board to make decisions on mask requirements in the future, so he doesn't have to go to the board for approval. He says this would allow a "more responsive approach to mask requirements as the spread and impact of the delta variant evolve over the course of the 2021-2022 school year." 

Related: The Minnesota businesses, organizations and events that now require or recommend a face mask

Additionally, Pekel's proposed Safe Learning Plan urges the district to develop an anonymous and optional process where staff and families can report their vaccination status, which will help inform face mask requirements in the future.

Other aspects of Pekel's proposal:

  • Allow 3 feet or more of social distancing between all people in Rochester Public School facilities
  • Visitors are welcome, so long as they wear a face covering and maintain social distance
  • Extracurricular activities, volunteering and field trips should be allowed, so long as everyone wears face coverings and adheres to other requirements in the Safe Learning Plan. 

The school board will consider the mask policy and Pekel's other proposals at the Aug. 17 meeting, which is at 5:30 p.m

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 6.56.30 PM

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for central MN, part of Twin Cities

A line of storms is making its way across the state.

Flickr - Enbridge Line 3 Palisade - Lorie Shaull

DNR orders Enbridge to pay $3.32M over Line 3 environmental violations

The pipeline company breached a groundwater aquifer, causing water to flow uncontrolled into a trench.

Eric Kendricks

Eric Kendricks misses practice, lands on injury report

The star linebacker headlines a lengthy list ahead of Week 2.

WIkimedia commons covid vaccine moderna

3 Twin Cities counties reach 16+ vaccination rate of 80%

More than 8 in 10 residents of that age group have gotten at least one dose.

Flickr - Burlington store exterior -

New Burlington location opens in Minneapolis Friday

To celebrate, the company is donating $50K to a neighborhood group and nearby school.

Top Ten Liquors Minnetonka rendering

Top Ten Liquors plans another Twin Cities location

The high-end wine bar and grocery space would take over a former Champps.

London Michael Bean go fund me

Teen charged with fatal shooting of 12-year-old London Bean

A warrant has been issued for the 18-year-old's arrest.

Minnesota Wild

Wild announce national TV broadcast schedule

The Wild will have 13 games nationally televised this season

suni lee

St. Paul's Suni Lee named to Time's list of 100 Most Influential People

Lee won three medals at the Tokyo Olympics, including an all-around gold.

Dunn County WI homicide suspect

1 arrested in quadruple killing, with 'armed and dangerous' suspect at large

The four victims were found in an abandoned SUV in rural Wisconsin.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Rape, incest suspect from Indiana is caught in St. Cloud

The 40-year-old was found in an apartment building.

Rep Tim Miller mn leg

MN rep calls upholding of TX abortion law 'great news for America'

Rep. Tim Miller also outlined a new abortion-related bill he plans to introduce.

Related

classroom mask

Rochester schools will require face masks for young learners

Students older than 12 are encouraged but not required to wear masks.

Pexels - classroom kid teacher student raise hand - crop

MN medical groups urge K-12 schools to adopt mask requirement for all

They say it will help protect other students who can't get vaccinated or are at risk.

masks, schools

List of Twin Cities school districts with, without, and undecided on mask mandate

19 metro-area districts will require masks; 11 won't require masks; 16 are undecided.

classroom mask

Anoka-Hennepin, Moorhead schools enact mask mandates

Previously, the districts were only recommending masks for unvaccinated students and staff.

theodore wirth trailhead

Minneapolis parks now requiring masks in all indoor spaces

Anyone going inside recreation centers, ice arenas, and indoor spaces at pools must put on a mask.

Flickr - woman holding face mask covid - Nenad Stojkovic

MN businesses, organizations and events that require or recommend a face mask

Many places have changed their protocols due to the spread of the delta variant.

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

City of Ramsey votes to stop enforcing Minnesota's face mask mandate

City Council members say it infringes on individual rights.