As you may be aware, the CDC updated its mask guidelines to say that anyone who has been fully vaccinated can resume normal activities without wearing a mask. Based on that guidance, Walker Administration and the Health & Safety Taskforce, made and announced the decision that Walker will adopt the same guidelines.
Since that announcement went out to our community, the CDC updated its guidance for schools, recommending that schools continue using the previous mask guidance for at least the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic school year. The CDC made this recommendation for two reasons:
Students under age 15 will not have the ability to be fully vaccinated prior to the end of the school year
Many schools and school systems need time to make the adjustments to the new guidance
Walker’s commitment to maintaining a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff has not waned. From the onset of the pandemic, the Health & Safety Taskforce has worked diligently to understand the science behind the CDC’s school guidance to ensure that we are making the right decisions for our students and our community based on our ability to implement safety enhancements that larger, less nimble school systems can not make.
As such, we feel confident that the CDC’s general guidance regarding masking for fully vaccinated individuals is appropriate for Walker and that we can safely and effectively implement this guidance because of our size and structure. The Health & Safety Taskforce has been monitoring the science behind the vaccines and the safety and efficacy data for all three available vaccinations since the beginning of Operation Warpspeed.
We also are excited about the continued decline in COVID cases nationally, regionally and locally. These combined factors further support our decision to adopt the CDC’s general masking guidance beginning tomorrow, May 17.
As a reminder, here are the protocols we announced yesterday that go into effect tomorrow:
Fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff may remove their masks indoors and outdoors: Fully vaccinated means it has been two (2) weeks since a person has received the second dose of Moderna/Pfizer or single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Proof of full vaccination: All students, faculty and staff must provide proof of vaccination to Nurse Dana Ferguson via email before going mask-free. Faculty and staff who were vaccinated at Walker do not need to show proof of vaccination because we already have the information on file.
Unvaccinated community members: If a student, faculty or staff member has not been vaccinated, they must continue to wear a mask indoors. Community members do not have to wear a mask outdoors unless they are in a densely populated area.
We have updated the COVID FAQs based on questions we have received thus far. If you have additional questions, please submit them here.
We thank you for your patience and support and are excited to continue celebrating our students’ accomplishments the past year, culminating with graduation this Saturday.
Have a great last full week of school!
Assistant Head of School for Operations
Head of The Walker School Health & Safety Taskforce