Hamilton Schools installs mask requirement for students and staffers

The Hamilton school board has unanimously approved a mandatory mask requirement for its 10,000 students and school staffers.

Nearly 20 percent of Hamilton students have been held out of classes, mostly due to coronavirus quarantines and positive cases, Superintendent Mike Holbrook told the board.

Previously, the district strongly recommended students wear masks while indoors at school.

“This week we have not had a day when less than 1,800 students have been absent,” Holbrook said during a Friday morning school board meeting.

There are 855 students not in school Friday because of quarantines and 65 positives cases among students, he said.

In-school experiences for students “are already starting to be lost” three weeks into the school year, he said.

“We want our students in school daily. We want our students and staff safe,” he said.

The new masking requirement would start Wednesday and is scheduled to end Oct. 12 but Holbrook, cautioned the board, saying infection and quarantine data would be used at that time to make any further decisions.

“These numbers I share with you are alarming, and it’s time to take action,” said Holbrook.

“We’ve heard our parents loud and clear. They want their children in school. We have to do something to make sure that happens. We want our students safe and we want them in school.”

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