Helena Public school students and staff members will be again forced to wear masks on the condition of their education, with Helena Public Schools Superintendent Rex Weltz telling parents on Friday that they were reinstating the mandate:
“Until this fast-moving wave of cases and hospitalizations begins to decline, we will require that all students and staff wear a mask during school instructional hours, starting Monday, January 24. Masks are highly recommended for activities that take place outside of the regular instructional day.”
Wentz went on to explain that the schools were “dangerously close to going remote” on account of staff shortages caused by the Omicron virus. Earlier in the week, he made a public plea for community members to step up and become substitute teachers, even if they are uncertified, in order to fill the gap.
He further instructed parents not to come with “single-layer cloth masks, which are not considered adequate to prevent Omicron per CDC and Lewis and Clark Public Health recommendations” but rather to spring “high quality” N95/KN95 if possible, with surgical masks and multi-layer masks being the next best thing.