Dear APS Staff and Families,
On Friday evening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published updated guidance that included new metrics for measuring COVID-19 community levels.
The CDC’s new guidance lists Arlington’s current COVID-19 community level as low, and states that masks should be optional in communities at the low level.
APS will continue following the CDC’s guidance for operating safely to allow everyone—students, families, staff and visitors—to decide whether they will wear a mask at school and on the school bus. This change takes effect March 1, and there is no opt-out form required. APS will adjust these requirements, should community levels change. More information is available online.
Mask-wearing is a personal decision based on individual circumstances, and I ask everyone to support our students and each other. We will continue to foster inclusive, safe and supportive learning environments for all. Families, please talk to your student(s) regarding your expectations for mask-wearing and remind them to be kind and respect their peers as they exercise decisions to wear a mask or not.
We are encouraged by the decline in COVID-19 cases in our community. Please continue to do your part to maintain a healthy environment by monitoring for illness and staying at home or keeping students at home when sick by using the Daily Health Screener and continuing to actively participate in our layered mitigation strategies. I also urge staff and families to opt into free, weekly in-school testing if they have not already done so.
Per the CDC guidance, “employees and students can continue to wear a mask based on your personal preference, informed by your personal level of risk.” We encourage all families and staff to review the CDC’s guidance for individual or household prevention measures. At low community levels, the CDC advises individuals who are immunocompromised or at high risk of serious diseases to have a plan for rapid testing and to speak to your healthcare provider.
Families with concerns after reviewing the CDC’s guidance for when community levels are low should contact your administrator for assistance. Staff may refer to the Employee Relations resources available on Staff Central regarding medical accommodations.
We remain committed to providing safe learning environments for all and will continue to keep the community informed of any additional updates to our health and safety protocols. Thank you for your continued partnership and support of our schools.
Dr. Francisco Durán