The Marshall School Board recently approved a mask requirement that included some exceptions. The exceptions will go for naught as Dane County has extended its mask order.

“Yes, Marshall Public Schools will follow the PHMDC (Public Health of Madison and Dane County) Order #5 requiring face coverings for all while indoors,” Marshall Superintendent Dan Grady said in an email Monday.

Public Health of Madison and Dane County made the decision Nov. 23, days before its last mask order was scheduled to sunset on Nov. 27.

The Marshall School Board voted unanimously on Nov. 17 to continue mask-wearing, even after the expected sunset of the county mask order.

However, that ruling by the board allowed some exceptions, including optional mask-wearing for spectators at sporting events and other activities after the end of the official school day. Mask-wearing was to be only “recommended,” not required.

But because of the order, masks will still be mandated, not recommended, for spectators at athletic events and other after-school activities.

After COVID-19 cases started rising in November, county officials went ahead with the mandate. The new order will require individuals two and older to wear a face covering in most enclosed spaces where other people are present.

“In the last three weeks, our rate of disease in the community has nearly doubled, the rate among children is at an all-time high and in other parts of the state, cases are even higher,” Public Health of Madison and Dane County Director Janel Heinrich said in a release. “With the holiday travel season upon us, this order provides more time for those who are newly eligible to get their first and second doses and for more adults to get booster doses.”

Dane County has had consistently fewer COVID-19 cases than almost all other Wisconsin counties due to high vaccination rates and masking policies, but is still classified as high transmission as defined by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. On Nov.19, the 7-day average of people testing positive in Dane County was 163 (29.8 per 100,000). In Wisconsin, that number was 3,068 (52.5 per 100,000).

The new county mask order allows for fully-vaccinated individuals to be in an enclosed space together without face coverings. But, it is too early to tell how that will be applied in the Marshall School District.

“I am not aware of how the district would implement procedures allowing fully vaccinated individuals to be unmasked while indoors across the district,” Grady said.

The new Dane County mask order is set to expire on Jan. 3, 2022.

Karyn Saemann contributed to this report.

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