LPS Releases Safe Return to School Plan for Year Ahead

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) — On Friday, we hear from Lincoln Public School’s new superintendent, Paul Gausman, about this year’s safe return to school plan.

At this time, for those returning to any building on August 15, masks will not be required.

The plan is more relaxed than previous school years with more tools available now to prevent COVID-19. This year, even preschoolers can get vaccinated.

“The guiding priorities for us are the most important and the number one priority we have is to keep our schools open, we know that students learn best when they are often with members of staff in the same room, doing everything they can to advance education,” said Dr. Gausman.

Gausman adds that doesn’t mean the plan won’t change. Masking requirements may be implemented for a specific school building, program, classroom, or setting depending on the number of positive cases, outbreaks, community conditions, and risk of spread.

“I suspect that for now, this targeted model of masking will be our mannerism for the protocol for the entire district,” Dr. Gausman said.

As for those who test positive for COVID-19, they must stay home for five days from the first sign of symptoms. The guidelines say that upon returning to school, students and staff must also wear a mask for five days, but it is unclear to what extent this will be enforced.

“We still have a protocol for staff to tell us about the disease and we’ve changed the way we do some masking,” Dr. Gausman said.

Vaccinations are not required for students or staff returning to school, but the district said they have proven to be one of the best defenses against the spread of serious illnesses and families should consider them. as part of their plans.

“That’s part of the reason we’re able to make these changes for the next school year and not have a universal mask mandate in place, because there are different tools available to all families in addition to the masking,” Dr. Gausman said.

The district has also created an LPS-only COVID-19 dashboard that will launch on the first day of school. This portal will list the total number of positive COVID-19 cases identified in each building and across the district. This will replace the daily emails used to notify families and staff.

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