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District Transitions to "Mask Recommended" for the Start of the 2022-23 School Year

return to school guideOn Thursday, August 18, 2022, the University City Board of Education approved a new "mask recommended" plan to begin the school year on Monday, August 22. Staff, visitors and students (in partnership with their parents or caregivers) may choose whether to wear a mask inside school buildings. The district continues to highly recommend masking in buildings.

On August 19, the District published its full Return to School Planning Guide for 2022. The guide explains the District's safety and health protocols in addition to plans for social and emotional wellness, rigorous and relevant instruction, racial equity, enrichment through athletics and other activities, and more. The guide further provides contact information for schools, including principals, nurses and others. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions section at the end of the guide.

The decision to transition to "mask recommended" was made in partnership with the District's medical partners at Washington University School of Medicine and is aligned with new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC). Changes in  recommendations are tied to decreasing hospitalizations, availability of vaccinations and boosters, and increased treatments to both prevent serious symptoms and to treat serious cases requiring hospitalization.

Key points in the district's COVID-19 mitigation plan include:

  • The District will start the school year with a "mask recommended" policy. 
  • The District may transition to a mask mandate either in individual buildings or districtwide if transmission rates exceed 1.5% either by building or districtwide. St. Louis County transmission and hospitalizations will also be considered in this transition.
  • Contact tracing will continue.
  • Active cases will continue to isolate at home.
  • Close contacts will continue to quarantine for the first two weeks of school. After that, most close contacts will be allowed to come to school if they are symptom-free.
  • Daily morning email reminders to screen for symptoms will continue.
  • The District will continue with its COVID-19 Dashboard which reports on the number and percentages of active cases and close contacts in the District. The COVID-19 dashboard will commence on the first day of classes.
  • In-person instruction will be held five days a week for all grades in all schools. 
  • The District's Return to School Planning Guide is rooted in science, CDC guidelines and recommendations from our health experts at Washington University. The Guide may change as guidelines and recommendations change.
  • The plan strives to ensure our community is safe, healthy, flourishing and connected.
  • For more details, click here to read the complete Return to School Planning Guide 2022.

Please note, the guide is fluid and may be subject to change as the year progresses given the unpredictable nature of COVID-19. The District remains committed to science, public health metrics, the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our medical expert partners at Washington University. The District will continue to work in collaboration with our full community to ensure everyone is connected and fully informed.

The District continues with enhanced health and safety protocols, which include:

  • Scheduling of regular clinics offering COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters
  • Expanded testing opportunities
  • Contact tracing
  • A regularly updated COVID-19 website
  • Free curbside testing through Washington University
  • Availability of face masks for staff and procurement of additional ones for students
  • Rigorous communication of active cases and close contacts