Masks will be required to be worn by elementary and middle school students outdoors in the Madison School District, as well as inside school buildings, according to an announcement by the district on Wednesday, just one day ahead of the start of the new school year.
Students will be required to wear masks on playgrounds and all outdoor school property for the first quarter of the 2021-22 school year, district spokesman Tim LeMonds said in an email.
The requirement includes staff, families, and visitors in elementary and middle school buildings, as well as after school childcare and activities at K-8 schools. Madison schools will work with families who need accommodations, to ensure all students' needs are met, LeMonds said.
"Calling the Delta variant “very concerning” due to its high transmissibility rate, level of severe disease, and incidence of breakthrough infections of those who are vaccinated, (Madison School District) advisors unanimously recommended outdoor masking for elementary and middle school students, to ensure the district’s goal of keeping students learning safely in-person and inside school buildings," LeMonds said. "It was determined, the extra layer of safety mitigation for students who are under 12 years old, and not eligible to be vaccinated, is best for these younger scholars."
The requirement does not apply to Madison's high schools.
High school girls cross country preview: Madison West's Genevieve Nashold among 10 runners you need to know this season
Abigail Minning, jr., Lakeside Lutheran
Minning is a two-time WIAA state championship individual qualifier in cross country and a 2019 first-team all-conference performer in the Capitol Conference. She also ran a personal best time of 5:41 in the 1,600-meter run during the 2021 track season.
Genevieve Nashold, sr., Madison West
She's the 2018 individual state champion and alternative fall season individual state runner-up last spring in the 5k. As a freshman in 2018, she won Madison West’s first girls state cross country championship.
Annika Cutforth, sr., Madison Memorial
Cutforth ran 19:13.7 and took 10th place individually at the alternative fall state championship meet last spring. Cutforth was able to finish more than 25 seconds faster than she did at the 2019 state championship meet as a sophomore.
Lauren Pansegrau, sr., Middleton
The state champion in the alternate fall state meet last spring and also part of Middleton's team state champion, she set a state record in the 5k run at state with a time of 17:07.3. Pansegrau also ran sub-17 minutes in the 5k run at sectionals, becoming the first high school girl in state history to do so.
Zaira Malloy-Salgado, jr., Middleton
As a sophomore, Malloy-Salgado took third place in the spring state championship meet with a time of 18:45.3, making her the highest-placing underclassman at the meet. Malloy-Salgado also took 11th in the 3200-meter run at the 2021 state track and field championship meet.
Mara Talabac, sr., Milton
Talabac finished with a time of 19:38.5 and took 14th place at the alternate fall state championship meet last spring, the best time by a Badger Conference runner at the meet. Talabac also took 16th and 22nd in Division 1 in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter run, respectively, at the 2021 state track and field championship meet.
Lily Maynard, so., New Glarus/Monticello
As a freshman, Maynard finished with a time of 20:11.4 and took 24th place at the 2021 state championships in the spring. Maynard also helped New Glarus/Monticello to a team state qualification during the spring season where most of the teams they were competing against were Division 1 schools.
Dasha Vorontsov, jr., Oregon
With a personal record time of 18:53, Vorontsov took fifth place individually at the 2021 spring state championship meet as a sophomore. That finish was the best from and Oregon girls runner since 1988.
Catherine Gregg, so., Sauk Prairie
Despite only being a sophomore, Gregg is the current school record holder with a personal best time of 20:21.44 last season. She also won the Badger North Conference championship in the 3,200-meter run during the 2021 track and field season.
Reagan Zimmerman, sr., Sun Prairie
As a junior, Zimmerman took 13th place with a time of 19:33.7 in the spring championship meet. She also qualified for state in the 3,200-meter run during the 2021 track and field season.