BREAKING NEWS: FTIS to allow stakeholders the choice of mask-wearing in January


Screenshot by Hilltopper Staff

The FTIS Healthy at School Website provides information for all stakeholders regarding COVID-19.

On November 22, 2021, in an email sent to stakeholders, the Fort Thomas Independent Schools District (FTIS) announced for that the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year, students, faculty, staff, and community members will be supported in their decision on whether or not to wear a mask. 

This takes effect on January 3, 2022, following winter break. 

In order to comply with the federal mandate, masks will still be required on school buses. 

FTIS Superintendent Brian Robinson, in his email, stated,  “We implemented a protocol that allows us to avoid revisiting the often divisive practice of reevaluating our masking decisions each week.”

This decision takes three primary factors into account, according to Robinson, which FTIS will continue to monitor. 

These include the rate of positive COVID-19 cases within the 41075 zip code, the number of positive COVID-19 cases for those attending school on a day-to-day basis, and the ability for any school community member to access the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Recently, local rates of COVID-19 infections have become manageable, along with most families having the option of whether to vaccinate their children or not. 

FTIS is offering optional COVID-19 vaccine clinics for students ages 5 and up on November 23 and December 14, to help lower the spread of COVID-19 once masking will be optional. 

Along with this, contact tracing will be adjusted, changing quarantine protocol for asymptomatic FTIS students. The schools will begin alerting the families of these students who have potentially been in close contact with a person who tested positive via email, as opposed to a phone call. Families will then be expected to monitor the student’s symptoms. 

“From day one, our teams have followed the values of maximizing the number of students who can safely attend school in person five days a week and reducing distractions to the educational process,” Robinson stated.

Asymptomatic students will no longer be quarantined, allowing these students to attend school and participate in school activities. 

Even for a minor illness, school staff will continue to monitor the student’s symptoms, asking families to seek medical opinion even for these illnesses. Along with this, FTIS will continue to offer COVID-19 testing options for students. 

These changes in close contact procedures can only be continued if families closely monitor symptoms and choose to keep symptomatic students home until a negative COVID-19 test result or an alternate diagnosis is reported. 

The school district will continue to monitor public health trends, only returning to previous masking and social distancing protocols if there is a dramatic local change in cases. 

Although there will be some changes, regular hand washing, sanitation procedures, and symptomatic students remaining home for even minor symptoms will help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

According to Robinson, FTIS is better together. 

“I am so proud of the Fort Thomas family for both the patience displayed and the pursuit of excellence as we move another step forward toward normalcy.” 

If you have any questions, you may reach out to Robinson, along with visiting the Healthy at School webpage for a more detailed description of the changes and protocols for the second semester.