Beginning July 3, face masks for Milton School District students and staff will be optional indoors and outside.

Superintendent Rich Dahman emailed a letter to parents Tuesday saying the change will be in place for all classes and activities on school district property. The change will also apply to outside groups using school district property.

He noted the July 3 date was chosen because summer school for 4K-8 students will be done and ages 12-17 will have had the opportunity to become fully vaccinated.

Dahman, who was given authority by the school board to make changes to COVID-19 safety protocols, said he anticipates the change in the face mask policy to continue through at least the end of August, pending any COVID-19 outbreaks.

The 2021-22 Milton Forward plan will be presented to the school board on July 12, he reported.

“Our hope is that we will be able to keep these new protocols in place when students return to school in September,” he said.

With four COVID-19 deaths in Rock County in the previous week, Dahman said, “We are reminded of the continued, serious nature of the pandemic.

He pointed out that at this time, the Centers for Disease Control, Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Rock County Public Health Department all recommend that COVID-19 protocols, including face masks, remain in place in K-12 schools.

Dahman outlined the main reasons for this: "Many youth have not had an opportunity to be fully vaccinated and COVID-19 continues to affect those who haven’t yet been vaccinated. As many of the adults in our community have had access to the COVID-19 vaccine, we’ve seen the infection rates drop accordingly."

However, as detailed in "As More Teens Hospitalized, CDC Urges Parents To Get Their Kids A Covid Shot," a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations by Kaiser Health News, he said, COVID-19 cases continue among youth.

Dahman ended the letter saying, “We will continue to encourage physical distancing (when possible), frequent hand washing, and stress the importance of staying home when feeling ill. We also encourage students and adults to take advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated, if possible. I want to thank everyone across the school district for how seriously they have taken their role in limiting the risk to themselves and others. Our students, staff, families and communities have all benefited from this approach.”

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