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Johnson County schools free of COVID after mask requirement ends

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Mask

A surgical mask sits on the dashboard of a car in Casper on Nov. 19. 

BUFFALO (WNE) — Johnson County School District No. 1 has now had two straight weeks with zero students or staff in isolation or quarantine since the removal of the district's mask requirement.

In early April, while students and staff were away for spring break, the school board voted to remove the requirement for masks in schools, instead making them “recommended.”

Masks had been required until that point in the county's schools, at district sporting events and on district buses. At the meeting, Superintendent Jim Wagner said the district wanted to switch to recommended mask wearing because it had received a mask exception from Dr. Mark Schueler and state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist.

“If the individuals determine they want to wear them, we don't want to discourage it and we wanted to use the same verbiage as the CDC is using,” Wagner said at that meeting. "So, that’s why we went from the word 'required to ‘recommended.'"

When the board removed the mask requirement, trustees and administrators said they felt confident in the decision but weren't exactly sure what to expect when students and staff returned from out-of-state travel.

Wagner even wrote in his April 14 board report that the second week back from break would “be the first indication if we will see an uptick in cases or a spread. Keep your fingers crossed it stays down.”

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