A teaching team in Colorado Springs violated district policy and procedure last month when they “instructed” students to stick COVID-19 masks on their faces with tape, according to Academy District 20 schools.
On October 15, a parent raised concerns about students wearing face masks at Chinook Trail Middle School, according to a statement from Principal Tom Andrew sent to the school community on Tuesday.
The district’s internal investigation, which obtained statements from more than 100 students, ten teachers and school staff, found that the “teaching team of 642” violated policy and procedure.
“While we found that teachers did not put a student mask on their face, we learned that teachers had instructed students to tape their mask to their face; And the students believed they were required by a teacher to use tape to put a mask on their face,” Andrew said in the statement.
District-wise, four teachers were found violating. The teachers, who were not identified by the district, wrote apologies to the parents and guardians of their students.
“It was never our intention to cause concern, fear, confusion or physical or emotional harm,” the apology letter said. “Our biggest wish was to keep the students in our classes and prevent the quarantine due to the COVID risk. Our team made mistakes in our methods, in order to adhere to district policy and teach students to learn individually. Please accept our deepest and heartfelt apologies.”
A meeting took place on Monday night with the families of students affected by “tape masking”, the district said. On Tuesday morning the teachers also met the students.
The district did not disclose what action, if any, was taken against the teachers.
“We are disappointed with both the decisions made and the outcome of the investigation. More importantly, we are disappointed that this incident has had a learning and social and emotional impact on our students and their families,” Andrews said in the statement. “Personnel matters are confidential, and therefore I cannot comment on the specifics of the investigation as it pertains to our employees.”
The district has provided counseling staff for “any student in the class pod who may need it”.
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