This email was sent to P-H-M staff and families overnight on August 24, 2021.
Dear P-H-M Staff and Families,
At the Monday, August 23, 2021 Board of School Trustees meeting, the P-H-M Administration recommended and the Board approved that P-H-M students and staff will follow the IDOH (2 weekly metric score) as a guide of when to implement universal masking of all P-H-M students and staff. The IDOH map currently has St. Joseph County in the yellow, which means all P-H-M staff and students will be required to wear masks indoors. Click to view P-H-M masking metrics guidance. Masking is still required on all school buses.
Because the vote came at such a late hour, Tuesday, August 24, 2021 will be a transitional day. Schools will have masks on hand for any student or staff member who is without one.
Students will not be required to wear masks during outdoor activities, including recess or physical education class, sports practices, games, band practices, etc. Students at all ages will be given mask breaks at safe times throughout the day. The timing will be determined at the building level with the principals and teachers working together to determine the best timing. Please click here to read the District Overview for all mitigation strategies.
With universal masking in a classroom this means that contact tracing will now be 3 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Please click here to read more on the CDC website.
I realize that this recommendation will not please those parents who were in favor of masks being optional. These are challenging times and people are divided on many issues. Our hope is that we can all agree that we need to do what is best for our children and the greater community. Our teachers and staff are committed to helping all of our students succeed. We know from last year that our teachers were still able to make those valuable personal connections with their students through their masks. The Board and I have the utmost confidence in the tremendous commitment, dedication and compassion of P-H-M’s teachers and staff. We have no doubt that our teachers will find creative ways to continue to build and foster relationships with their students.
Dr. Jerry Thacker, Superintendent of Schools
Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation