Face masks are now optional in District 518 schools

Superintendent John Landgaard estimated that about 25% of students in Worthington public schools are continuing to wear their face masks.

WORTHINGTON — Masks became optional but still recommended in District 518 schools on Monday.

During a walkthrough of the buildings, Superintendent John Landgaard told ISD 518 Board of Education members Tuesday that about 25% of students were wearing their masks.

“At this point, we’re going to see where it goes,” Landgaard said. “Depending on where the (COVID-19) numbers go, we may have to ask to put the masks back on.”

Since the change, COVID-19 numbers have been fairly static for District 518, he said, as have the numbers for Nobles County.

“Exposures will be … what dictate what we do,” he added.


Board member Brad Shaffer noted that the school’s protocols have changed along with the masking being made optional.

Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 who has symptoms will need to isolate themselves for 10 days from onset of symptoms. They can return after 10 days if they feel better and their symptoms have improved, it has been 10 days since they first felt sick and they have no fever for at least 24 hours without using medicine that lowers fevers. Anyone who tests positive but has no symptoms will still need to isolate for 10 days.

Fully vaccinated people who are notified of a possible exposure to a positive COVID-19 case should get tested five to seven days after exposure, and wear a mask in public, indoor settings for 14 days after exposure, or until the test is negative.

People who are not fully vaccinated and are notified of a possible exposure must get tested five to seven days afterward. If the test is negative but symptoms occur, they should retest. They can enter the school but must be masked, or will need to quarantine for 7-14 days, depending on test results and symptoms.

If a family member in the same household tests positive, unvaccinated household members must quarantine at home for 14 days from their last exposure. Vaccinated family members may return to school, but must wear a mask.

In other news Tuesday, the board:

  • Approved a $410,990 agreement with ICS to oversee and begin work on a $3.7 million project replacing four air handling units at Worthington High School and a chiller at Prairie Elementary. About $2.5 million of the project will be paid for with federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, with the remainder coming from designated general fund dollars.
  • Voted unanimously to expel a student from Worthington High School.
  • Renewed its agreement allowing for student teachers from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
  • Approved an agreement with Sanford Health for nursing services that increases the cost from $35 to $37.50 per hour.
  • Approved the resignations of Amy Granholm, Rachel Keber, Raegan Sjolund, Gladys Aldana, Eneyda Melendez, Lexi Larson, Jairo Perez, Melissa Brown and Veronica Orellana Duran, as well as the termination of Georgina Andrade.
  • Approved the employment of Ranita Coleman as special education paraprofessional, William Merida as E-sports advisor, Sandra Medrana as special education paraprofessional, Yadira Gomez as cook, Jairo Perez as class I paraprofessional, Ronella Markus as class II paraprofessional, Paw Mu as class II paraprofessional, Gladys Aldana as class I paraprofessional, Val Nickel as third party billing trainer, Clint Meyer as middle school boys basketball coach, and Anna Rogers as middle school gymnastics coach.
  • Approved requests for sick leave due to pregnancy for five District 518 employees and child care leave without pay for four employees.
A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

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