On April 28, 2021, Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) updated its COVID-19-related policies to match federal recommendations.
Teachers are no longer required to sanitize surfaces after every class. Desks will continue to be sanitized at the end of each school day.
Communities co-founder and teacher Rick Leib says, “I have no problem sanitizing the desk, but not having to after every hour allows for another thing to be taken off of teachers plates.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, research shows that people are at low risk of contracting the virus from touching an infected surface. COVID-19 mainly transmits through airborne droplets.
Junior Ashley Ruby agrees with the change.
“Since more staff and students are continuing to be vaccinated now, fewer people are likely to get it, so I feel it is not as big of an issue anymore if teachers don’t sanitize after every class,” Ruby says.
A junior student who wishes to remain anonymous, however, thinks teachers should still sanitize regardless of the CDC’s press release.
“Although more staff and students are getting the vaccine, it doesn’t prevent them from carrying the disease. Although you are at low risk for getting the disease from surfaces there is still a chance. Some people are unable to get the vaccine due to health issues. I think we should still be sanitizing desks to help protect those students who still have to worry.”
The second major shift revolves around quarantine protocols.
Vaccinated students will no longer have to quarantine if they experience close contact as long as they do not exhibit symptoms. The district may ask for proof of students’ vaccination to confirm they have been fully vaccinated. If a student who is fully vaccinated becomes ill or shows any symptoms, they are required to follow regular quarantine protocol.
Leib says, “Students who are not required to quarantine if they are vaccinated helps to keep more students in school and brings back some normality.”
COVID-19 protocol has changed for athletes in addition to in school.
Athletes can now have four spectators attend events rather than the previous limit of two. The district recently received approval from the Winnebago County Health Department, as well as the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (for use of the Titan Stadium) to expand this limit.
Junior athlete Madelyn Dutscheck says, “I think it’s a good idea that athletes are able to invite more people, cases of COVID-19 has gone down and most spring sports are outside so people can socially distance themselves.”
In addition, spectators no longer have to wear masks but are still encouraged to do so. Spectators at outdoor events must continue to sit socially distanced
However, per the District’s partnership agreement, face masks or coverings will still be required for all spectators for events at Titan Stadium.
As for wearing masks in the school building, nothing has changed.
A district press release states, “The OASD is continuing the current practice of requiring students, staff, and visitors to wear face masks/coverings in all schools and district facilities, as outlined in the OASD 2020-21 School Year Plan.”
In a public release Monday, May 17, the OASD clarified the stance on masks at graduation.
“Masks will continue to be required for graduates/students during the graduation ceremony as students will not be able to distance from one another. Graduates will be allowed to temporarily remove their masks while walking across the stage and when taking their professional photo. Masks will be recommended for spectators during the graduation ceremony but not enforced.”
OASD states that the protocols will continue to be updated based on the latest COVID-19 restrictions.