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River Falls School Board Considering Dress Code Update for Headwear



Although a Wisconsin mask warrant has been in effect since Aug. 1 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, legal counsel for the Wisconsin School Boards Association has advised adding a mask policy to dress codes, according to a staff report. The revisions would allow the district to continue requiring masks after the statewide mandate expires.

READ MORE: UW-River Falls to Close Hudson Center by Year’s End, Focus on Online Programs | UW System Launches COVID-19 Dashboard and Daily Reports

The board approved a first reading of the revised student dress code and employee handbook at a special meeting on September 14. The changes will be put to a vote at a future meeting.

School board members welcomed the changes proposed Monday night, including praise for the detailed definitions and expectations for the use of masks.

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The language used in the dress codes for employees and students is almost identical. Both policies provide for the mandatory use of the mask on instruction from the superintendent in consultation with the school board. It also says the superintendent will follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Wisconsin Department of Health, and Pierce County Public Health.

According to the policies:

An acceptable face mask should completely cover the nose and face. They can include cloth, disposable, or paper masks as well as neck warmers and religious masks. A face shield alone or masks with holes, vents or mesh are not eligible.

When necessary, masks should be worn at all times, except when eating and drinking, communicating with a deaf or hard of hearing person, at work when a face mask could pose a safety risk, or if someone is in difficulty to breathe.

Face covers are highly recommended at all times, including outdoors if a distance of six feet cannot be maintained.

Alternatives will be determined if someone cannot wear a mask for medical reasons and provides a doctor’s note.

Masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others and are an essential tool in the fight against the novel coronavirus, According to the CDC.

As of September 14, 27 students in the River Falls School District had symptoms of COVID-19; 22 due to a member of the household showing symptoms or pending test results; and 11 due to close contact, according to a district situation report. There were three staff members waiting for test results for themselves or for a member of the household.

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