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Face masks for Milton School District students and staff will be optional indoors and outside starting July 3, but rules for the fall semester remain unknown.

Superintendent Rich Dahman emailed a letter to parents Tuesday, saying the change will be in place for all classes and activities on school district property.

The change also applies to outside groups using school district property.

Dahman said the July 3 date was chosen because summer school for 4K through eighth-grade students will be done and children age 12 to 17 will have had the opportunity to become fully vaccinated.

Dahman, who was given authority by the school board to make changes to COVID-19 safety protocols, said he anticipates the mask policy change will continue through at least the end of August, pending any COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Our hope is that we will be able to keep these new protocols in place when students return to school in September,” he said.

Dahman plans to present a COVID-19 plan for the fall semester to the school board July 12.

With four COVID-19 deaths in Rock County last week, Dahman wrote, “We are reminded of the continued, serious nature of the pandemic.”

Dahman said at this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Rock County Public Health Department all recommend that COVID-19 protocols, including face masks, remain in place in K-12 schools.

However, as detailed in a Kaiser Health News report, COVID-19 cases continue among youth, Dahman said.

Dahman ended the letter saying, “We will continue to encourage physical distancing (when possible), frequent hand washing, and stress the importance of staying home when feeling ill. We also encourage students and adults to take advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated, if possible. I want to thank everyone across the school district for how seriously they have taken their role in limiting the risk to themselves and others. Our students, staff, families and communities have all benefited from this approach.”

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