Message From Our Superintendent on Updated Guidance
March 10, 2022
Dear NMCUSD Families and Staff,
Over the last school year, North Monterey County Unified has followed California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Monterey County Health Department (MCHD) guidance and mandates to allow for full in-person instruction in the safest way possible.
As the State and Monterey County have updated the guidance for schools to take effect March 12, I am writing to clearly communicate what to expect on our campuses in the coming weeks and our board approved timeline for implementation.
Recent declining case rates and hospitalizations across the west coast has prompted a coordinated announcement that California, Oregon, and Washington are moving together to update their guidance for schools. After 11:59 p.m. on March 11, California, Oregon, and Washington will adopt new COVID-19 policies and change the mask requirements to strongly recommended face masking in schools. CDPH is updating K-12 Schools Guidance to reflect changes.
Based on our local decision by the Board of Trustees, here are the guidelines and related timeline for North Monterey County Unified school campuses and facilities:
- Our district school campuses/facilities current outdoor masking requirements will end on Saturday, March 12.
- Face masking is still required indoors at our school campuses and facilities until Saturday, March 26, at which time it will be strongly recommended instead of required.
- There will be no distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated in the masking policy.
- Local health departments may issue stricter guidelines. We anticipate there will be no other changes from the Monterey County Health Department.
- Updated guidance from CalOSHA related to staff may require personal protective equipment (PPE) for certain job-related situations.
Why Not Remove Masks Today? The proposed lifting of the masking mandate is based on a variety of COVID-19 data that are going in the right direction. Based on the current trajectory, the District believes that by March 26, the numbers will reflect a much lower risk of transmission in schools and will also allow for communication and planning to ensure parents and teachers are working together regarding face-masking options after March 26.
NMCUSD Impact: At this point, all staff students in NMCUSD are required to wear masks indoors at all campuses in order to remain in compliance with our district’s local guidelines and implementation timeline. There is optional face masking outside on school campuses in NMCUSD beginning Saturday, March 12. And, beginning Saturday, March 26 the indoor face masking requirement will shift to strongly recommended on NMCUSD school sites/facilities.
What are the Learning Options for Your Child?
If a family no longer wants their child to wear a mask at school between now and March 26, we will work with you to get your child into our independent study program, but they will need to be at home until our indoor masking protocols change on Saturday, March 26.
Respecting Personal Choice
- The state and our district is providing personal choice for masking in schools with the expectation that individual choices are respected. Resource: CDPH’s “Get the Most Out of Masking”
- Assumptions should not be made regarding someone’s beliefs or health status based upon their choice to wear or not wear a mask, nor should they be commented upon.
- For students under 13 years of age and younger children, we are asking families to please let teachers know if students are to wear face masks after the March 26 change in the indoor requirement and we ask that teachers and staff will do their best to provide face masks and remind students.
- Classrooms should discuss the change in the requirement of face masks with students in a developmentally appropriate manner, including how to respect everyone’s personal choice.
- If your student(s) expresses any anxiety, feel free to reach out to our school administrators, teachers and/or counselors for additional support as needed.
- Students and staff should continue to remain home when sick and having symptoms.
- Students and staff should continue to take a COVID-19 test if exhibiting symptoms and/or if they have a known exposure to COVID-19.
- The district and school will continue to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including face covering and face shields to staff and students.
Thank you for your cooperation as we continue to navigate toward an endemic state. I truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we take every step to preserve the health and safety of our students and staff.