BILLINGS — Citing a surge of omicron variant COVID cases in the area, Superintendent Greg Upham said Thursday that Billings Public Schools' mask mandate will remain in place for an indefinite period of time.
The mandate was set to expire Monday, January 17 for teachers and staff on an in-school learning day, and on Tuesday, January 18 for all students.
In a letter to parents and guardians, Upham said that no single metric forced his decision, but the district is monitoring these criteria in making its decision:
- Local health officials COVID-19 information updates.
- The total number of Yellowstone County (school age) active cases.
- The total number of Yellowstone County (all age) active cases.
- Current health care capacity.
- Yellowstone County positivity rates.
- Yellowstone County daily case counts per 1OOK.
- Total number of SD2 cases per individual school.
In the first week back from school, the district reported 161 COVID cases, the most of any week this school year. Billings School District 2 only had 10 positive cases in the last week of December before the holiday break.
Read Upham's full letter below: