School officials updated the public on COVID-19 cases for the school year.
At the most recent Mercer County Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Jason Booher presented data from the district from before and after the board voted 3-2 to end the mask mandate on Sept. 17.
When masking was required, 139 positive cases were found, averaging 3.8 cases per day. After masking was made optional-and the school district instituted a testing to stay and weekly screening programs-90 positive cases were identified, averaging 3.9 positive cases.
Booher told the board that the weekly screening program identified 15 positive, asymptomatic cases.
“If we subtract these 15 cases from our positive cases, our average positive cases per day with optional masking is 3.3, which is lower than our average positive cases per day with required masking,” Booher said.
Currently, over 300 students test every Monday morning, he told the board. Booher also released the data publicly in a letter to stakeholders.
“This positive data shows so far that our optional masking combined with our Test-to-Stay and weekly screening program is working even while the state was going through some of their largest reported number of daily cases,” Booher said.
For the plan to continue to work, Booher asked anyone who is not vaccinated to wear a mask. In addition, he advised people to continue social distancing.
“We highly encourage everyone to get vaccinated if you are eligible and have not received it,” Booher said in his letter to stakeholders. “Vaccination is key for us to get back to our “normal” way of living.”