More in-person school days for Bozeman middle and high school students

The front entrance to Gallatin High School in Bozeman.

BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Bozeman School Board voted 7-1 to update the face-covering policy which requires a mask to be worn inside school district buildings.

The new policy is effective as of Tuesday, Aug. 24 and requires face coverings for all students, faculty, staff, parents, volunteers and visitors on campus. Enforcement of any masking requirement will not be based on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

The Board of Trustees authorized the Interim Superintendent Casey Bertram to establish or lift mask requirements for grade bands (elementary, middle school, and high school) based upon multi-week trends in associated grade band COVID-19 transmission data.

The superintendent will use the “high” rate of transmission as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as the guiding decision metric when establishing or lifting mask requirements for grade bands.

The superintendent is also authorized to establish or remove mask requirements at district buildings without students at his discretion.

In the event it is determined face coverings are required, the Superintendent shall announce the face covering requirement to students, parents, staff and visitors for the immediate successive school week by 5 p.m. on Friday of the previous week.

If masks are required, signs will be put up to inform students, parents, staff, and visitors of mask requirements while present in the identified district buildings.

When a masking requirement is in place, students, staff, volunteers, and visitors are not required to wear a mask when:

  1. Consuming food or drink
  2. Engaged in strenuous physical activity
  3. Communicating with someone who is hearing impaired
  4. Identifying themselves
  5. Receiving medical attention
  6. Precluded from safely using a face covering due to a medical or developmental condition. The superintendent, building principal, or their designee shall request documentation from a care provider when considering an exception to this provision for medical or developmental reasons. The School District will comply with all applicable disability and discrimination laws when implementing this provision.

When a masking requirement is in place and students and members of the public are not present, staff may remove their masks if they are at their individual workstation and six feet of distance is strictly maintained between individuals.

In some circumstances, staff may lower face covering while teaching, presenting, speaking or providing directions as long as they can maintain appropriate distance (six feet) from others.

This decision will be left to the discretion of the individual staff member. To be determined by Staff, there will be opportunities for students for routine “mask breaks” throughout the day, if appropriate distancing can be maintained.

Allegations of harassment of any person wearing a mask or those with recognized exemptions to the face covering requirement will be promptly investigated in accordance with district policy.

Failure or refusal to wear a mask by a staff member or student not subject to an exception noted above may result in redirection or discipline in accordance with district policy and codes of conduct, as applicable.

Face coverings are required for drivers and riders on district route and activities busses in accordance with federal regulations regardless of school mask requirements.

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