SAUK RAPIDS -- The Sauk Rapids-Rice school district will not be requiring students and staff to wear masks to start the school year.

Superintendent Brad Bergstrom says mask-wearing is optional.

We want people to know that it is certainly okay if you should choose to want to wear one.  And that will be for our staff and our students.  The only exception to it being an option is when it comes to school transportation vehicles.

Bergstrom says the requirement to wear a mask on the bus is because that is a federal mandate.

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Bergstrom says if someone tests positive for COVID-19 they still will be required to quarantine at home for 10 days. However, the close contact tracing like they had last year will be virtually impossible to do this school year.

We will do our best if somebody tests positive to let parents know that a while was within six feet, but it will not be contact tracing like we did last year, it would take too much manpower we just don't have the capacity to do that.

The Sauk Rapids-Rice school district will not be offering a distance learning option this year.

The first day of school for students in the Sauk Rapids-Rice School district is on Tuesday, September 7th and Wednesday, September 8th.

On Monday night the Sartell-St. Stephen school board voted to require students and staff to wear masks in school.

The St. Cloud Area school board is meeting Wednesday night and is expected to finalize its safe learning plan during the meeting.

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