Lopeman at 5-12-21 MUSD Meeting
MUSD superintendent Dr . Tracey Lopeman recommended the end of mandatory COVID quarantines and allowing up to four guests per graduate at the upcoming Maricopa High School commencement and 8th grade promotions at Wednesday's MUSD Governing Board meeting. Photo by Jay Taylor.

With the end of the school year in sight, the Maricopa Unified School District Wednesday lifted its mandatory quarantine edict for students and staff who have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case.

With just two weeks left in the school year, MUSD superintendent Dr. Tracey Lopeman recommended a shift to optional quarantine so those who may be exposed are not forced to miss school events at the end of the year, including graduation and promotion.

The schools will continue to notify students and staff of confirmed exposures and cases in their proximity. District staff will only quarantine if they have symptoms. The notification to parents will encourage them to watch closely for the onset of symptoms as they have been doing.

Students and staff currently under quarantine will return to school Monday.

Lopeman explained the justification for removing the quarantines: “Tomorrow, if students are exposed to a confirmed case, they would be quarantined. It would be through graduation, through promotion, through all of the end of year events. We want to prevent that – we don’t want that to happen. So that’s why the masks are still mandated because we are of the mindset that the masks have helped us return to in-person learning and remain in in-person learning. So, these last two weeks are critical for seniors to be able to participate in graduation.”

This marks the second consecutive meeting with a major step toward normalcy in the district relative to the pandemic. At its April 28 meeting, the district’s governing board removed the mask mandate for students while outside. Students are still required to wear masks while indoors at school.

Lopeman added a final bit of good news regarding end-of-year events.

“In addition to that recommendation, we also get to highlight that our data is looking good, so we would like to increase the spectators at graduation and promotion,” Lopeman said. “Masks are optional because both graduation and promotion are outdoors, and we would like to have four guests per graduate at the Maricopa High School graduation, and four guests per 8th grader at the middle school promotions. I think people will look forward to that.”