BILLINGS — Superintendent Greg Upham said Wednesday that he's planning to lift the mask mandate for all Billings schools at the end of class Friday.
Upham said in a letter to parents that declining COVID-19 cases and improved attendance rates were the primary reasons for the lifting of the mandate.
School officials will continue to encourage mask use and have N-95 masks available for students and staff starting Tuesday, Feb. 15.
Upham had initially hoped to end the mask mandate in mid January, but he extended it indefinitely following a wave of cases from the Omicron variant.
Here's Upham's full letter:
Parents and Guardians,
In light of our declining COVID cases and in conjunction with improved attendance rates for both students and staff, we will be lifting the mandatory face covering requirement. This will be effective at the end of the school day, Friday, February 11. We will continue to monitor our COVID data and appropriately address situations as they occur. It is important to remember that face coverings are still required on transportation, per the federal mandate.
We welcome and encourage the use of face coverings in our schools, and will have N-95 masks available upon request for middle and high schools students, beginning Monday, February 14. N-95 masks will be available on Tuesday, February 15, for elementary students. Please direct all requests through the school office.
In addition, our weekly SD2 COVID data and other pertinent COVID-related information can be found at https://billingsschoolsnews.org [billingsschools.us9.list-manage.com].
As a reminder, vaccinations are available for school-aged children and adults; please contact your medical provider or RiverStone Health for additional information. COVID testing is also available at St. John’s United - Gainan’s Commons, RiverStone Health, and other health providers.
I would like to thank and recognize our staff, students, and the community for your tireless support to keep our schools open and to maintain a safe educational setting.