Some Schools in Rural Areas Will Open Without Masks
Schools in some rural areas will open without insisting on masks for either teachers or students. On the other hand, many American districts will close for all or most of the year and turn to distance learning. These safety practices will not be universal.
A survey of Wisconsin’s rural schools shows that 62% will require social distancing. Only 19% will require students and teachers to wear masks. While 28% said teachers must wear masks, some 55% said they would have no mask requirements at all.
Among the reasons many of the rural schools will open is that they do not want the kind of disruption that COVID-19 brought their schools last year. Rural School Alliance director Kim Kaukl told Wisconsin Public Radio, “We don’t want to rush this to the point that we think we have this great plan, and we rush it through and the next thing we know we’re completely closed again. I don’t think people want to go through that again.”
According to the Bing COVID-19 Tracker, there have been 51,049 confirmed cases in Wisconsin and 911 deaths from the coronavirus. Most of these are in counties near Milwaukee. However, some rural counties have had two dozen cases or more. Some have posted several deaths as well.
Health care officials across the country have said that masks and social distancing are the keys to arresting the spread of the disease. People in many areas have ignored the caution, and some large percentage of these are outside major cities. It many cases, the “no mask” plan has helped spread the illness, even in places with few people.