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Great Falls Public Schools updates mask policy

Great Falls High School (September 2021)
CMR High School in Great Falls
East Middle School in Great Falls
Posted at 11:02 AM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 17:07:35-05

GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Public Schools announced a change to its mask policy on Friday, November 12, 2021.

GFPS said that based on data regarding lower infection rates in schools and the recent overall downward trend in the community transmission rates over the past few weeks, the requirement for the use of masks in middle schools and high schools across the District will be lifted beginning Monday, November 15, 2021. 

GFPS noted that the use of face masks will still be "highly recommended" in middle and high schools, especially in congested areas where physical distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained for more than 15 minutes.

The masking requirement for Great Falls Public elementary schools (grades K-6) will remain in place for now.

GFPS said that after the holiday break, likely in early January, the mask requirement in elementary schools will be reconsidered. This will give parents/guardians who choose to access vaccines for students in elementary grades the opportunity to do so.

The City-County Health Department in Great Falls shared the following data on Wednesday, November 10, 2021:

CCHD COVID data for Cascade County (November 10, 2021)

Several people have asked KRTV about the GFPS claim of "recent overall downward trend in the community transmission rates," noting that the infographic continues to show a high case rate and positivity rate.

We contacted Trisha Gardner, the health officer at the CCHD, about it, and she replied: "Some of the cases reported this week were due to some data catch-up. Despite the data catch-up from this week, the general trend of cases over the last few weeks in the community is going down, as is the overall positivity rate."

For comparison, here is the data from October 27, 2021:

CCHD COVID data for Cascade County (October 27, 2021)

And here is the data from October 20, 2021:

CCHD COVID data for Cascade County (October 20, 2021)