Lafayette County Schools mandate masks on bus, in LHS

Published 8:00 am Friday, August 13, 2021

Lafayette County School District released a notice Wednesday night mandating masks on school buses through Friday, Aug. 13.

Lafayette County High School is also mandating masks for all students, faculty and staff during the same period due to an increase in positive COVID-19 cases and quarantined individuals among staff and students.

The district released a 2021-22 COVID Transmission Plan describing four levels with increasingly strict measures to counteract the spread of the coronavirus: Code Green, Code Blue, Code Orange and Code Red.

“We have been working for some time to put together a plan that would give us indicators on when we need to make decisions,” said Jay Foster, superintendent of Lafayette County School District. “We finalized that [Wednesday] and as we looked at [ the plan], the numbers at the high school made us feel like we needed to go ahead and put it out.”

The district decided LHS had reached Code Orange status, also known as Elevated Level Transmission, which prompted the enforcement of masks on school buses since students intermingle on them throughout the district.

Code Orange describes four indicators: 5 to 7.5% positive case rates among staff; 1.6 to 2.0% positive case rate among the student population; 10.1 to 15% of the student or staff population is quarantined; Lafayette County’s positive case rate is above 5%.

According to Foster, the district will begin releasing the number of positive cases Monday, August 16. At the end of a school week, the board will assess the numbers and see if the district or a school will go up or down a level.

The board is in contact with the school nurses and medical professionals to decide what is the best course of action, said Foster.

“The district administration and school board said we’re going to remain fluid in our decision making process and that student and staff safety would always remain at the forefront,” said Foster. “We’ve said all along that we’re going to look at numbers in our county and numbers in our school district to make informed decisions.”

For more information about the Lafayette County School District’s 2021-22 Transmission Plan, visit www.gocommodores.org.