Parker Reinstates Mask Mandate

School announces that masking will be made mandatory for two-weeks following spring break


Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

Parker Reinstates Mask Mandate

On April 18, after five weeks of a mask optional environment, the Parker community received an email announcing that Parker would be reinstating mandatory mask wearing for a minimum of two weeks. The email to the community announced not only that masks would again be required for all indoor spaces on campus, but also an increase in Covid-19 surveillance testing for the two week period following Spring Break. 


Despite the return to both masking and bi-weekly surveillance testing, not all Covid restrictions were reinstated. Restrictions on group gatherings, strict podding, and lunchtime mitigation protocols remain, according to the email, unnecessary at this time. 


The determination that a return to indoor masking and increased testing was based on “ongoing monitoring of COVID viral activity in the city” which revealed “a continuing increase in local COVID positivity rates.” According to the City of Chicago coronavirus dashboard, the current daily average of coronavirus cases rose to 456, an increase of 8% from the prior week. The local positivity rate rose to 5.4%, which was an increase from 2.1% the prior week. However, the Chicago dashboard points out that “in general, test positivity has a reduced utility due to the widespread use of point-of-care and at-home tests.”  Despite these increased metrics, Chicago’s coronavirus risk level remains in the “low” category. 


It remains unclear whether the masking and testing requirements will extend beyond May 1, 2022. According to the April 18 email, the Parker community will receive updates on masking protocols, testing results, and any other necessary mitigations at the end of each of the next two weeks.