OASD to go mask-optional Jan. 15


Mia Salbego, Writer

This week, the Oshkosh Area School District announced that beginning Jan. 15, 2022, face coverings will be optional for all students, staff, and visitors in all OASD buildings. 

The district message from Superintendent Bryan Davis states, “vaccine accessibility is a turning point for our District and our ability to change our face covering requirement.” 

Oshkosh West senior Dominique Bauer had hoped for this day to come sooner–if enough people had gotten the vaccine when available.

“This should’ve happened a long time ago. Vaccines were the answer, but people didn’t listen,” she says.

With the new policy in place, there will be no vaccination requirement or necessary testing for students who choose to attend school with a mask. This change will also no longer require high school athletes to follow the winter sports protocol that requires weekly Covid testing for unvaccinated winter sport athletes. 

Face coverings will return under certain circumstances, specific to elementary and to middle and high school students. For OASD elementary schools, if one or more active Covid cases are present in a classroom, the students within the class will wear face coverings for 10 calendar days. For middle and high schools, if the entire school has 2% of students with active Covid cases, face coverings will be required for all students and staff for 10 calendar days, as well as all spectators at any sporting event. 

According to the current OASD Covid dashboard, Oshkosh North has 12 students with active cases while Oshkosh West has 26.

While many students have expressed their excitement for the mask policy change, some have also voiced their concerns regarding the change. 

“I don’t think this is a good idea because of the new Omicron variant that’s quickly spreading. I know that I, and lots of other students, just want to finish school in person,” says Oshkosh North senior Klara Stelzer. 

Oshkosh West sophomore Hannah Wolf also seems to be worried about the timing of the policy change due to the Omicron variant. 

“I’m worried about the unvaccinated kids at West, especially with the new variant,” Wolf says. 

While there will be no way to tell if students are vaccinated or not, the District will still offer in-school testing as well as at Central Office on Eagle Street.