Hope Public SchoolsSchool News

HPS combats COVID-19 with proper mask usage

Ken McLemore

HOPE – The Hope Public Schools Board of Education has adopted a facemask usage requirement at all HPS events and on all HPS campuses as a first line of defense to combating the impact of COVID-19 through quarantine.

HPS Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley has been succinct about the common-sense implications.

“If we had seen mask usage as it should be, we would have pivoted zero campuses this year,” Dr. Crossley said.

Three HPS campuses, Clinton Primary School, Beryl Henry Elementary School and Hope Academy of Public Service, were required to “pivot” to virtual instruction for a week because of high quarantine rates among students and staff.

Keeping campuses disinfected has been a planned process that involves fogging buildings twice daily and wipe downs of high traffic areas once daily.

And, since the district adopted a required mask usage, quarantine rates have dropped, in some instances from more than 60 in one week to fewer than five on the same campus.

“We want teachers, staff and students to lean into this,” Crossley said.

Teachers have monitored proper mask usage in classrooms and hallways, but parents are being asked to help by reminding their students about proper mask usage, a simple, three-step process:

–Place the mask over the nose and mouth and secure it under the chin.

–Fit the mask snugly against the sides of the face.

–Provide ample ability to breath easily.

Crossley said teachers are reporting a trend among students to either wear the mask over the mouth but not the nose, or to wear the mask in “sling” fashion beneath the chin, neither of which provide any protection against airborne COVID-19 contagion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the use of cloth face masks, but non-cloth, disposable masks are also allowed by the HPS.

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