The mask mandate for Hancock County Schools will be lifted effective February 22.   The Hancock County School Board approved ending the mask mandate on a 4 to 1 vote at its Feb. 14th Board meeting. Board member Michelle Chappell voted no.  Superintendent Dawn Petrovich said the schools had monitored the COVID positive cases in the schools during a  six-week period and cases had reduced significantly.

         Kathy Dray, who has led the COVID vaccination and testing effort in the schools, provided the Board with an overview on the process which will now be in place in the County schools to contain the virus.    Should any student or staff member think he/she has been exposed to the virus, the school will provide them with a SARS 24-hour rapid Antigen test from Roxby labs . Students will then take the test home and the test can be administered by their parents.

       “Parents will have control over their kids,” said Dray “and, they will know immediately if kids should go to school.”

        Instructions on administering and submitting the test are included in the free test kit.    The test will require that two photos be taken of the student and of the nasal swab test.  A photo will then be taken of the test strip and submitted online.

       Students being exposed to a COVID positive student will no longer have to quarantine at home according to Dray, but must wear a mask at school for ten days.  Should an exposed student not wear a mask he/she will be send home.

         Board President Dan Kaser praised the work of Dray, the school nurses and the Hancock County Health Department in helping to keep students in schools during the COVID pandemic.