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UCSD officials loosen school masking requirements as COVID-19 case counts drop

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Maggie Nelson
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KUCB
Superintendent Robbie Swint Jr. said the school made their decision based on the recommendation of local clinic officials, who cited a drop in reported COVID-19 cases as well as a decrease of the virus in local wastewater testing.

Unalaska students and staff can start shedding their masks at school starting Monday.

Unalaska City School District officials sent out a letter to families on Wednesday, saying masks will no longer be required beginning next week.

UCSD Superintendent Robbie Swint Jr. said the school made their decision based on the recommendation of local clinic officials, who cited a drop in reported COVID-19 cases as well as a decrease of the virus in local wastewater testing.

Swint said he consulted with school administrators and the district’s COVID-19 advisory committee before making the decision to remove the mask mandate.

Swint added that it’s possible for masks to be required again, should case counts rise. He also noted that masks are still required on school buses.

Additionally, student athletes will no longer be required to test to participate in school sports.

“The [Alaska School Activities Association] Board of Directors voted to no longer require pre-competition testing for COVID-19 for ASAA state competitions,” Swint said. “So with that, we decided to not do the student athlete testing on Monday and Wednesday. However, upon parents' request, we still can test the students and staff.”  

The City of Unalaska reported a total of three active COVID-19 cases on its dashboard as of Feb. 24. If that number drops to zero by Monday, Swint said the school will move to its low transmission level– and other mitigation measures may also be removed.

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