Mask breaks, water breaks, and physical education classes

September 17, 2021

Dear Families:

Thank you for your continued cooperation and efforts during these unprecedented times. I hope this letter finds you and your family doing well. The purpose of this communication is to provide you with some clarification regarding how the District conducts mask breaks during the day.  

Physical Education Class

The order issued by the Department of Health (DOH) states that students can remove masks while  “participating in high-intensity aerobic or anaerobic activities, including during a physical education class in a well-ventilated location and able to maintain a physical distance of six feet from all other individuals.”  As such, we recognize how important it is to give students the opportunity to remove their masks while engaged in said activities while still doing our best to mitigate the number of quarantines that could occur due to a positive case.  

Two factors come into play when looking at quarantines while not wearing masks during physical education class:  6 feet social distancing and 15 minutes of close contact.  Our ventilation systems are operating at least 2x’s greater than the legal requirement for bringing in fresh air through our ventilation systems.  In order to follow the mandate and allow students to take off their masks in conditions as explained above, each building will require masks to be worn when students enter the physical education classroom during the introduction of the activity.  During the activity itself, students can remove their masks while they are “participating in high-intensity aerobic or anaerobic activities.”  During this class, staff will work to make sure students are 6 feet apart during the activities when feasible and not in close contact for 15 minutes or greater.  We were reassured by the DOH that this would preclude students from being quarantined.  Additionally, we will be taking students outside for physical education as much as we can with weather permitting.  We want to do all we can to adhere to the order we were given, keep students safe, and mitigate the number of quarantines.  

Music Class

The order issued by the Department of Health (DOH) states that students can remove masks while “engaged in an activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask, such as eating and drinking, or playing an instrument that would be obstructed by the face-covering.”  The music staff will social distance students to the greatest extent possible, and we are in the process of ordering additional coverings for the musical instruments to help mitigate the spraying of particles.  Again, two factors come into play during music class:  6-feet social distancing and 15 minutes of close contact.  

Mask Breaks & Water Breaks 

IASD will continue to give students mask breaks throughout the day.  Please contact your child’s principal to learn more about the details surrounding masks breaks.  At the current time, schools have scheduled mask breaks throughout the day and/or provide breaks when needed.   Please work with your child’s teacher and/or principal if additional time is needed if your child is having difficulty. 

All children are encouraged to bring personal wide-mouthed water bottles to school. They can fill up their bottle periodically throughout the day (if needed) and keep water at their desk or in a specific spot in the classroom. 

Thanks for all you do and we will continue to work together to get through this difficult time.  Please reach out to your child’s principal if you have any questions. 

All the best, 

Mr. Michael J. Vuckovich

IASD Superintendent of Schools