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Campus Masking Update

September 9, 2021

 

Hello Dunham Families,

As the superintendent and principal of Dunham school I have two overarching goals.  The first is the safety of my students and staff and the second is meeting the educational needs of my students.  COVID-19 has brought a new perspective on what it means to keep students and staff safe.  As you have probably heard, last week we had our first verified COVID exposure on campus.  These exposures are popping up at schools all over the county and state.  Our first on-campus exposure led to over 40 students needing to quarantine for 6 to 10 days.  

We have a variety of COVID-19 mitigation measures in place as directed by the California Department of Public Health and we have been reviewing additional recommendations from the state and county that would improve the safety and education of our students.  To this end, Dunham School District will be heeding the recommendation from the Sonoma County Health Officer to require outdoor masking.  This recommendation is made based on the high incidence of COVID-19 in the community and the contagiousness of the Delta variant.  This means that staff, students, parents / guardians, contractors and anyone else (over the age of 2 years old) is required to wear a mask while on the Dunham campus regardless of location.  It is not optional (with the exception of eating or drinking) and will start immediately.

If we can commit to having all people masked whenever they are on campus, then more students would qualify for a modified quarantine, which means less students would need to miss school.  Instead of 40+ students we would likely be looking at smaller numbers if/when we have another positive COVID case on campus, since we’d only need to do a traditional quarantine for those seated in close proximation to the COVID positive student during snack/lunchtime rather than all of the students who were on the playground together during recess because they could do the modified quarantine. Please refer to the attached description of modified quarantine to see how 100% masking will greatly reduce the number of students who would need to stay home due to COVID exposure.

I know mask wearing is all over the news and everyone has an opinion about it.  To be frank, I do not like wearing a mask, but if it means that the people stepping onto campus might be a little more safe from the pandemic or just one more student could stay in school and not have to quarantine, then it is more than worth it.  

When our TK-6 grade students came back onto campus last spring, 100% masking was required of everyone (indoors and outdoors) while on campus and the students did a fabulous job, as did our staff and parents.  Currently, on the playground you would find most students still have their masks on, particularly our lower grade students; it’s a habit for them now. The biggest shift will not be for the kids, it will be for us adults.  This means if you are getting out of your car at drop off or pick up or are coming onto campus for other reasons you will need to be wearing a mask.  Our focus is on keeping kids safe and keeping them in school during times of possible exposures.

I greatly look forward to a time when this is not the case, I really do.  Until then, and starting Friday, September 10, I greatly appreciate everyone’s support in trying to keep everyone safe and in school during the pandemic.

 

Sincerely,

Daniel Hoffman

Superintendent / Principal

Click to View: Student Quarantine Protocol For In-School Exposure (TK-12)