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Masks mandatory in Monroe schools
covid-19 graphic coronavirus mask

MONROE — Masks were required in all School District of Monroe facilities starting Thursday, Jan. 13, as the Board of Education sought to blunt the effects of a wave of COVID-19 cases among faculty and staff districtwide.

In the nine days since the return from the holiday break, Monroe has seen positive student cases explode by more than 438%, according to district officials.

“Please know that the district understands that this news will frustrate some of our families,” Joe Monroe, Director of Pupil Services, said in a mass email to parents and staff Jan. 12. “That is not our intent.”

In fact, district officials say they are doing everything they can not to further disrupt students’ education and the lives of their parents and families.

Countywide, the positive rate soared to 27.2% of cases. In fact, every county in Wisconsin was listed in “critically high” activity level as of Jan. 13. 

“Despite the sacrifices made by the staff, it is clear that the current COVID activity in our schools is problematic,” the district said on its website in a note published Wednesday night.

It is unclear if or when the district might have to return to virtual learning. The district had scheduled an “emergency” meeting to address the issue Thursday night, but it was not held prior to press time.

The Board of Education had approved updated COVID-19 Guidelines that outline two plans for dealing with the virus. The regular, or default plan, called for masks to be optional in grades K-12. That plan went into effect with the return from the holiday break and was implemented, officials said, “to balance safety, presence, and choice.” 

But it didn’t last long.

The heightened plan kicked in once the district realized a three-day rolling average at or above 50 positive student cases, which was met Jan. 12.