New Marin County Public Health Guidance for Schools

Dear TMS community, I hope this note finds you well as we head into the weekend. I am writing to share news about some changes to COVID-19 safety guidelines on campus. As you may have heard, Marin County Public Health is updating their recommended guidance for all Marin County schools based on trends in transmission rates, vaccination rates, prevalence of variants, and impacts on the hospital system. If you would like to view the updated guidance document in its entirety, it is linked here. There are two immediate ways that this guidance affects how we will run school as of Monday, October 11th: First, wearing a mask **outdoors** will now be **optional.** Please note that masks are still required indoors, and that faculty, staff, and students will still be allowed to wear a mask outdoors if they choose to do so. Obviously, students or employees themselves may be vulnerable, or they may have a family member who is vulnerable. In those cases we fully support wearing a mask outdoors on campus, and I would recommend that if a student or employee is particularly concerned about this change, they wear a KN95 or similar mask to give them ample protection. Our community will be committed to respecting the choice to wear a mask outdoors. Please note: all visitors to campus who are not students or employees will still be required to wear a mask at all times, including outdoors. Second, we will no longer have designated outdoor eating areas for different grade levels. We will return to the model we had at the beginning of the 2021/22 school year, when students could eat anywhere outside. Students will still be required to eat outdoors, unless there is bad weather or the student has a relevant accommodation. There are other changes we will make in the near future that are specific to life at TMS, but the two changes above are reflected in the new Marin County general guidance for all schools, so I wanted to get this information out as soon as possible. As noted above, these changes will go into effect this coming Monday, October 11th. I know that for some, the change in guidance around masks in particular will be a welcome relief. For others, this change around masking will undoubtedly be a source of continued anxiety about COVID-19. I want to emphasize that I trust Marin County Public Health’s scientific approach, and believe that the county would not make this change without ample evidence in support. TMS also has very high vaccination rates among its employees (100%) and among its students (96%); those are some of the highest rates that I have seen posted on Marin County school websites. TMS’ high vaccination rate greatly increases my confidence in adopting this change. For the health and safety of our entire community, please continue to follow all recommended guidance, including wearing masks indoors and staying home when sick so we can continue to make progress. Stay tuned for more updates as we incorporate these changes and make other alterations to our on-campus rules. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. We’re in this together, Ben

New Marin County Public Health Guidance for Schools