Lincoln joins Westside in post-holiday mask requirement; Omaha Public Schools policy to remain in place

Westside Community Schools announced last week that students and staff would be required to wear masks when returning from holiday break. OPS students have been masking all year.
WOWT 6 News Live at 6:30
Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 6:07 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - When students and staff return to the Westside School District on Wednesday, there’s a familiar rule that will be back in place: mandatory mask-wearing.

The debate over masks in school seems to create a firestorm every time a district brings it up. In the decision to mask up after the holiday break, Westside School’s Superintendent Mike Lucas said it’s all about keeping students and staff in school.

He also acknowledged the elephant in the room on Twitter.

Westside will re-evaluate the numbers on Jan. 21.

“I have an appointment for my son to get tested tonight before he goes back on Wednesday,” said Becky Borosko.

As the holiday break wraps and it’s back to school, many students and staff are getting tested to make sure they’re not sick themselves, and at risk of spreading COVID-19.

“As I’ve said all along, keeping schools open and in the classroom should be our highest priority. We do worry we will have a lot of students and staff who will be excluded because of the rising numbers,” said Steve Joel, Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent.

Nebraska’s second-largest school district, Lincoln Public Schools, will require masks for students, teachers, and staff when classes resume Tuesday to help reduce the spread of the omicron variant.

After consulting with health experts, the superintendent said he’s expecting peak numbers in the two weeks following the holiday break. A significant surge is already underway.

“We appreciate our parents and community and certainly do not wish this to be the current practice -- but we know we have to do this together,” said Joel.

Lincoln will re-evaluate the policy on Jan. 28. It’s unclear if other districts will follow.

Omaha Public Schools have kept masks in place since last fall and will continue the policy through the spring.

Lincoln Public Schools also revised policies when it comes to students and staff who test positive. They can return on the sixth day after the test was taken if they have no symptoms or the systems are much approved.

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