Despite a recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases, the Rock Creek school district is continuing to make mask-wearing optional across its buildings.

USD 323 superintendent Kevin Logan said the school board met Monday, but it did not change the “mask-optional” policy for school buildings after hearing arguments for and against a mask requirement. He said three of the four school principals in the district recently told him they would prefer to keep masks optional.

Logan said St. George Elementary principal Dan Ackland expressed concern about keeping masks optional. A couple of weeks ago, Ackland’s school experienced an outbreak with 22 cases. The elementary school posted on social media that most of the cases were in one grade level mostly occurring in one classroom.

Logan said the district is “in good shape right now” with five active COVID cases. St. George Elementary had three active cases, and Rock Creek Middle School had two cases, as of Wednesday. He didn’t report any cases at Rock Creek High School.

“We’ve come a long way in the past couple of weeks,” Logan said.

Logan said the outbreak at St. George Elementary “took us by surprise a bit,” but the district continues to implement other COVID-19 health protocols, like regular sanitizing of touchable surfaces, frequent handwashing, and the use of Plexiglass dividers in some classrooms where physical distance is hard to maintain.

“It’s stressful dealing with COVID cases,” Logan said. “But the staff is doing a great job dealing with them.”

In the area, Manhattan-Ogden, Geary County and Wamego school districts started the year with mask mandates while Rock Creek, Blue Valley and Riley County didn’t.

Logan said he sends an update to district parents every Friday that includes the latest number of COVID-19 cases.