October 26, 2021

Masking on buses clarified for school district

Ongoing mitigation efforts hope to keep illness down at PCM

Due to conflicting regulations between state and federal bodies, the PCM School Board approved language for masking on school buses for the district. The board approved the statement at its August meeting.

“There seems to be in the media confusing the public a lot about schools and mask mandates, the CDC and their arms of authority,” superintendent Michelle Havenstrite said. “It has been advised that school boards make a public statement to their communities about masks.”

The board approved the following bus mask guidance language: “The CDC requires that masks be worn on public transportation, including public school buses effective 2/1/2021. The PCM School Board advises all students and staff riding public transportation to wear a mask in accordance with this order. However, in accordance with Iowa Code section, 280.31 employees of the PCM School District will not be enforcing the CDC order.”

For the district, Havenstrite said they are not restricting people from wearing a mask nor are they requiring anyone to wear one. The decision is up to the individual.

While masks are no longer mandated in schools after the governor’s order last spring, the district is continuing efforts to keep the buildings clean. Ongoing sanitation that started last year will be a part of the routine this year in hopes of keeping all illnesses at a minimum at PCM.

“We had always planned to continue the sanitation. If you go back to pre-COVID, they did a great job cleaning but cleaning and sanitizing are two different things,” Havenstrite said. “It is one of the things we are going to keep doing because it is just good for our kids, spraying and sanitizing, we have figured out how to fit that in our schedules. They clean at night and someone comes in early in the morning and sprays, we have already committed to that.”

She said in 2020-21 the district had a very low rate of illness and with the continued efforts administration hopes to keep the numbers down. Along with sanitation cleaning, hand washing and sanitizers will still be ever-present in the schools.

“I hope we use the COVID experience to get better, to take better care of our kids, our staff or faculty and to do things more efficiently and safely,” Havenstrite said.

In other business:

• The board approved a $2.50 per hour one-time stipend for L1 and L2 associates.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com