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Oshkosh schools will require masks through October 1

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 11:08 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2021 at 11:33 AM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - The Oshkosh Area School District changed its COVID-19 response to require face coverings for all students, staff and visitors inside all school and district buildings.

The policy takes effect August 23 and will be in place until October 1. Two weeks ago, the Oshkosh school district said face masks would be optional for students and staff.

The school district says the change is in response to the rise in coronavirus cases. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says Winnebago is one of 60 counties where COVID-19 virus activity is high. The county has 311.8 cases per 100,000 residents and case numbers on a rising trajectory.

The OASD is particularly concerned about rising cases in the under-18 age group. It says between June 30 and July 13, only one COVID-19 case was confirmed in a child in the school district. In the past two weeks there were 32.

A graph from the Winnebago County Health Department shows cases among children started rising sharply in July. Kids ages 10 to 14 have the highest case rate per capita, though that’s leveled off since August 10.

Graph of confirmed coronavirus cases among children under 18 in the Oshkosh Area School District
Graph of confirmed coronavirus cases among children under 18 in the Oshkosh Area School District(Winnebago County Health Department)

The school district is planning to offer classes in person from preschool through 12th grade.

Superintendent Bryan Davis issued a letter to parents Friday reading in part, “The Oshkosh Area School District is committed to providing in-person instruction for our students for the 2021-22 school year in a healthy and safe environment.”

The City of Oshkosh and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh also have mask requirements inside their buildings.

The Oshkosh school district is encouraging all families to get their eligible children vaccinated. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is approved for anyone 12 and older.

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