With rising spread of COVID-19 in Polk County Schools, the Polk County Board of Education voted to approve a temporary mask requirement for students and staff effective Wednesday, Sept. 8.

During an emergency meeting held at Stearns Education Center, the Board of Education voted to adopt the temporary measure as a means to combat the impact of COVID events and quarantining that has led to clusters in classrooms, staffing issues and the temporary closing of three schools. 

The mask requirement will only apply during the school day and in other instructional settings when students and staff are indoors and not eating or drinking. Students will be given frequent mask breaks, will be taken outside as much as possible and will not have to wear them during strenuous exercise.

In adopting the requirement, the Board noted this is a temporary requirement, and numbers and impacts will be monitored and updated weekly so the Board can stay informed and return to optional masking as soon as possible.