Tulsa Public Schools will be further relaxing its mask guidelines in response to declining infection rates.
In a letter to parents, TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist says that while the school still recommends masks, there will no longer be an "expectation" for all adults and students to wear them. Gist goes on to urge vaccinations for all eligible children between 5-12.
See the full letter below.
Dear parents and families,
I am pleased to share that we are continuing to see consistent declines in COVID-19 infection rates in Tulsa. Thank you, Tulsa, for wearing your masks, watching your distance, and washing your hands often!
Given these positive trends, we are updating our safety guidance to strongly recommending (rather than expecting) masking for all adults and students in our schools and district office sites. This change will take effect tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1.
It is important to know that while we are seeing increases in vaccination rates for Tulsa County, rates for students ages 5-12 are lower in comparison to the overall population. If you and/or your child are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine but have not yet received it, we urge you to visit www.vaccinate.oklahoma.gov today to schedule an appointment.
We also want to be clear that we did factor into our decision that some of our pre-k students are under the age of five and not yet eligible for a vaccine. We know that while children are as likely to get COVID-19 as adults, research shows that they are less likely to become severely ill. We also know the impact that wearing a mask during class has on children's ability to learn, and on the teacher's ability to communicate with students, particularly our younger ones.
We will, as always, continue to monitor local COVID-19 data closely. In the event that we see a reversal in infection rates, we will reevaluate our safety guidance and make appropriate changes.
Deborah A. Gist, Superintendent