We surveyed parents and staff to gauge how the community would feel about making masks optional indoors. In addition, parents were asked about their vaccination status as well as their children’s.
Detailed Parent Survey Results
231 parents completed the survey, which is 23% of the parents.
97% of the parents report they have been vaccinated, 2% are not vaccinated and 1% preferred not to answer.
42% of the students are vaccinated, 54% are not vaccinated and 3% preferred not to answer.
81% of the parents would support going mask optional this year while 19% would not support this.
Detailed Staff Survey Results
85 staff members responded, which is approximately 68% of the educational staff.
Over 90% of the educational staff is vaccinated.
78% of the staff members would support going mask optional this year while 22% would not support this.
The parent and staff comments mirror the vote with the majority asking for us to go mask optional citing it is time to move on and the difficulty of wearing masks all day.
The main argument against going masks optional is some families have not had the opportunity to get their children vaccinated.
We will continue to require masks indoors for the remainder of the school year for the following reasons.
I know many of you wanted a different decision. Below are the factors that went into this decision.
The majority of our students are not vaccinated. In the past we wanted 80% percent of parents and staff to be vaccinated before we made a change, our students are only at 42%. While vaccinations do not eliminate the risk of contracting the virus, there is evidence that the vaccines reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalizations.
If we go mask optional, we are forcing members of our community to decide between sending their children to school or keeping them home to avoid Covid. These families cannot move to another school that does require masks at this time of the year. Also, we may force some of our staff members to take sick leave if they are fearful of contracting Covid for health reasons.
Vaccination for our students is not widely available here in Senegal. Families who want to have their children vaccinated can use the summer months to get their children vaccinated.
Looking Ahead to Next Year
Assuming the conditions are the same in Senegal, it is likely the school will move to mask optional indoors.
We want to give families and staff sufficient notice of this in order to decide if they want to remain part of the ISD community next year.