VBSD Face Covering Guidance for 2021-22 School YearFriday, August 13, 2021 8:28 pm
The Van Buren School District is continuing to monitor the judicial process for Arkansas Act 1002 regarding face coverings. At this time, VBSD is not instituting a face covering requirement to start the 2021-22 school year. This decision was reached based on feedback from our parents and staff. In a staff survey, VBSD found that 36.1% were in favor of a face covering requirement for all students and staff, and 63.9% were opposed. VBSD also asked each elementary and middle school student household (under 12 years old) to complete a brief questionnaire at their respective open houses. These grade levels were selected since children under age 12 are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine. Our final open house was held this evening and responses from our families district-wide showed that 44.2% are in favor of a district face covering requirement and 55.7% are not.
VBSD values the opinions of its parents and staff and factored data from the surveys in its decision to start school without a face covering requirement in place. However, VBSD strongly encourages all students and staff to wear face coverings indoors while on campus. In addition to encouraging face coverings, VBSD is also continuing to follow CDC guidance and implementing layered prevention strategies provided by the Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This includes a focus on physical distancing, screening, testing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection to the extent practical.
As we begin school, VBSD will closely monitor the number of confirmed cases and required quarantines among students and staff. This information will be used to determine if it is necessary to implement a face covering requirement and/or other safety protocols in the future. Our District appreciates everyone’s cooperation and patience as we work together to serve our children.