Following New CDC Guidance, West Lafayette and Lafayette School Corps. Mandate Masking In Schools
Schools in Tippecanoe County are changing masking protocols for the upcoming school year following the release of new guidance from the CDC and a spike in COVID-19 cases across the state and country.
Last week Purdue University announced it would be mandating masks for the upcoming school year. On Monday, the West Lafayette Community School Corporation expanded its masking requirements from grades K-6 to K-12. And on Tuesday, the Lafayette School Corporation announced it would also be requiring masks after an initial plan to make them optional.
Lafayette School Corporation Superintendent Les Huddle said there is disappointment that the pandemic has not been left behind.
“Here we go again,” he said. “We’re having to do this with some frustration. But we believe we’re erring on the side of caution for the health and safety of our students and staff.”
Huddle says the requirement will take effect on Aug. 9.
“After reviewing the information, looking at the numbers, and having discussion with our board members we are going to start requiring masks when students and staff are inside,” he said.
In spite of the changes, Huddle said so far he is not comfortable with a COVID vaccine mandate.
“Our students as other students in the state of Indiana have other mandated vaccines such as measles, mumps, polio, those types of things,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll be mandating at this point unless we get a directive from the state of Indiana probably.”
Following their board meeting Monday, interim WLCSC Superintendent Michael Pettibone said the decision to expand their mask mandate to include all of K-12 was made because of new guidance from the CDC and the Indiana Department of Health recommending masking in schools regardless of vaccination status.
“Previously we had recommended masks for K-6 because of those students not having the opportunity to be vaccinated,” he said.
West Lafayette Jr.-Sr. English teacher Marydell Forbes said she supports the change.
“It’s vitally important that we all work together and support each other rather than be divisive and selfish minded,” she said. “For us we are grateful that they are willing to adapt to information as it presents itself and make the decisions to make all of us as safe as possible.”
Tippecanoe School Corporation is expected to hold a special meeting on Wednesday night to discuss their reopening plan.