close up of covid bacteria

Lincoln Public School officials will require students in preschool through sixth grades to wear masks this fall.

Steve Joel, superintendent of Lincoln Public Schools, discussed the plan during a press conference Aug. 5.

Screen Shot 2021 08 05 at 10.18.21 PM 300x168 - LPS updates safe return plan as first day nears, masks required for younger students
LPS Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel discusses the updated Safe Return to School Plan, Aug. 5.

The revised LPS Safe Return to School plan requires masks for all students in prekindergarten through sixth grade, visitors and volunteers in the elementary and middle school buildings and all staff who work with the students, no matter their vaccination status.

If seventh and eighth graders are in classes with sixth-grade students, all students will wear masks for the duration of that class. Seventh through 12th-grade students will not be required to wear masks, but those students are encouraged to do so if not yet vaccinated, according to Joel.

“The plan changes because conditions change and new information is made available,” Joel said. “I would rather invest in being safe now than having students and teachers missing a lot of school.”

Joel said the kids need to be in school.

“If students aren’t in school, they won’t be learning to their capacity. And when kids get sick or are exposed, they have to quarantine and have to miss school,” he said.

Bryan Health pulmonologist John Trapp said to have kids successfully stay in school, vaccinations are needed for those who are eligible as well as other risk-reducing measures such as masking and social distancing.

The Safe Return Plan is set to be reviewed as community conditions change.