SARTELL -- The Sartell-St. Stephen school district has announced their safe-learning plan for the upcoming school year.

During Monday's school board meeting, the board approved 4-2 to implement a mask mandate for all students and staff in PreK-12 grades, regardless of vaccination status.

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Several students and adults presented their side, both for and against a mask mandate, during the meetings public forum section.

After a lengthy discussion the board ultimately made their decision to implement a mask mandate to the start of the year. The board says the decision was made based on the recommendation from local and state health officials.

Similar to last year, the district will still have the ability to make changes to the masking requirements if the factors determine whether there is a significant spread of COVID-19 within the community. The first possible change to the masking requirements would be September 2nd.

In addition to masking in schools, students will also be required to wear a mask on the school bus (which is a federal requirement).

Finally, the Sartell-St. Stephen will not be offering a distance learning option for individual students for the upcoming school year. A district wide distance learning model will only be used if the COVID-19 case rate becomes too high.

District 742 is expected to share their plan with the school community on Wednesday

Sauk Rapids-Rice Superintendent Brad Bergstrom says the only requirement at this time is in regards to transportation. All students who ride on buses will need to wear face coverings as this is a federal mandate. Our current Safe Learning Plan has face coverings as an option for both staff and students to wear except on transportation, practicing social distancing to the extent possible, and encouraging good hygiene. This is where we are at today and as we learned last year, things can and do change.


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