Article updated at 5:20 p.m. Friday:
Masks will be optional for all students and staff in Lawrence Public Schools buildings effective Monday, the district announced Friday afternoon.
Under Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health’s community transmission indicators, the county entered the “green” status on Friday, meaning there are fewer than 500 active COVID-19 cases in the county and the rolling 14-day average number of new cases was below 25 per day.
Despite making masks optional for all, district spokesperson Julie Boyle said via email Friday that the district encourages everyone to “consider wearing a mask when around others who need or choose to wear a mask.”
“Public health officials recommend that unvaccinated individuals, anyone with a severe medical condition, and people with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 wear a mask. The district will continue to provide KN95 NIOSH masks to staff,” Boyle said.
“We respect that some students and staff may choose to continue to wear masks for personal or family health and safety reasons. Please be respectful of all choices and continue to bring a mask to school,” Boyle wrote.
The district is also lifting restrictions on elementary field trips, but all other COVID-19 mitigation strategies remain in place, Boyle wrote.
Masks will not be required on buses, either, Boyle said.
“We will continue to review data about absenteeism, staffing coverage, and COVID-19 transmission in our district and community,” Boyle wrote. “The district will be prepared to reinstate a mask requirement if needed.”