Dear Wornick Community,
Before winter break, our health and safety committee had begun planning for an easing of some of our COVID-19 measures to support greater student interaction, social emotional learning, and a return to the important community-centered programming that make our school so special. This includes unmasking outdoors and bringing back more all-school gatherings. The Omicron wave threw a curveball at us and caused us to temporarily pause implementing those changes.
Over the last few weeks, we have seen a number of significant changes in our community. Vaccination rates among our students have significantly increased. At the moment, close to 87% of our students are fully vaccinated. In addition, our understanding of this variant and the virus continues to evolve. We understand that this variant is milder and the percentage of hospitalizations and severe illnesses are significantly lower compared to previous variants.
As we complete the second year of this pandemic, our north star remains our students in every way. While there are many aspects of the pandemic that we need to continue to be cautious about, the cost benefit analysis of continued restrictions weighed against the social, emotional, and developmental needs of our students needs to be considered. After careful consideration and consultation, we will be removing the requirement for all students to wear masks outdoors effective February 14th. With high vaccination rates, declining COVID-19 infections in the community, and an evolving understanding that the risk of outdoor transmission remains extremely low, we believe that this is the right next step in balancing all of our students’ needs. In the first few weeks of this change, we will continue PCR weekly testing and will reevaluate the need for that frequency among vaccinated students in the coming weeks. Please note:
- Students who want to continue wearing masks outdoors may continue to do so. If your students are in TK-3, please inform your classroom teacher and email@example.com if you would like your student to wear a mask.
- TK/K will be given special hanging organizers outside their classroom to house their masks when they shift to outdoor learning and activities.
- For all grades, please talk to your student about how they can plan to keep track of their mask and put it back on when they line up to go inside. For example, they could wear it on their wrist, or keep it in a pocket of the lunch box or backpack.
In the coming months, our school will communicate changes that will bring parents back on campus more frequently for important community building activities, outdoor tefillot that involve multiple grades, and volunteer opportunities.
Please note that while San Mateo County will be easing its universal indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals on February 16, they are still strongly recommending people take precautions including getting vaccinated and boosted, staying home and testing when symptomatic, and wearing masks in indoor public spaces and crowded settings. Indoor masking is still required in congregate settings including public transportation, healthcare settings, and K-12 schools.
Wornick is a community that contains diverse perspectives, cultural and political backgrounds, and beliefs. It’s one of the things that makes our community so special. Unsurprisingly, our perspectives on what the next steps our school should take in this pandemic are also diverse. The leadership of our school has always tried to strike a balance between our core values and these diverse perspectives. We appreciate your respectful partnership as we chart a path forward.