SFPS announced today that mask-wearing in schools and district sites is optional starting immediately.  This decision makes mask-wearing in school and district sites an individual choice based on personal preference and level of risk.

“Our COVID numbers are heading in the right direction, with the CDC’s level for Santa Fe County low.  Now is the time to ease mask-wearing in our schools and return to a sense of normalcy,” said Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez.

A guide issued today to all SFPS staff states the following:

“Everyone is to be respected in their masking-wearing decision.  For those who continue to wear masks, we are completely supportive.  We also support those who want to stop wearing a mask. Masks will still be available at all sites for staff, students and visitors who choose to continue wearing a mask.

“Please be reminded that Board Policy 202 states that “ethical values among students cannot exist without ethical leadership among educators.”  Staff are encouraged to lead by example in respect to individual mask-wearing decisions.

“Staff will model empathy toward parents, students and staff in their decisions, recognizing that the pandemic is impacting each of us and those around us in differing ways.  

“Bullying will be fully discouraged.

“There will be no penalties for wearing or not wearing masks.  Classrooms will not be divided, with those wearing masks on one side and those not wearing masks on another.  Similar divisions in other areas will also not be allowed.

“Please note that masks will be required when entering a school nurse’s office.  A station will be set up outside the nursing offices for individuals to access masks for that purpose.

“Because our first priority is student and staff safety, SFPS meets and exceeds the state’s air quality expectations in every facility district-wide.”