LPS Releases Return To School Policy Regarding COVID-19

LINCOLN–(KFOR/LPS News Release July 29)–Lincoln Public Schools on Friday released their return to school policy for the 2022-23 school year, which starts August 15, with the continued risk of spread of COVID-19.

For now, masking is optional and LPS Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman says they certainly won’t discourage students wearing them but there won’t be a universal mask mandate decision whether or not to wear them across the district.

“Should we a spike of challenges and illness in a certain building, a certain classroom, a certain hallway; we may change the decision for that particular portion of our community,” Dr. Gausman said on Friday.

Dr. Gausman adds the number one priority is to keep schools open, since students learn best with staff members often times in the same classroom.  He says the district will continue to work with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to address any change in the community conditions or outbreaks.

Below is the pandemic plan for the LPS Safe Return to School.


Face Coverings

Face coverings remain OPTIONAL for everyone inside all LPS buildings and on all LPS buses. Individuals may wear a face covering based on their personal preference, and informed by their vaccination status and personal level of risk. Anyone who wants to wear a face covering while in our schools is welcomed to do so.

LPS may adjust face covering protocols as necessary after consultation with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD).  During the school year, face covering requirements may change for a specific school building, program, classroom or setting based on the number of positive cases, outbreaks, community conditions or risk of spread. We are taking a targeted approach to best address conditions and outbreaks.

Self-screening, Testing, Reporting

Students and visitors entering any LPS facility are expected to conduct a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms every day prior to arriving.

Every day ask yourself or your student the following screening questions prior to entering an LPS building:

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • Fever of over 100.4
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New onset of loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea

If you answered YES, do not go into an LPS building. Instead:

  • Self-isolate immediately.
  • Contact your healthcare provider or seek medical care.
  • Get tested for COVID-19.
  • Families of students need to contact the school to report the absence.

Get tested for COVID-19

  • Bryan Health
  • CHI
  • Nomi Health
  • Nebraska DHHS
  • Your healthcare provider
  • Order your free home COVID test by going to covidtests.gov to place an order.
  • Several pharmacies including CVS, HyVee and Walgreens along with other health care provider offices and urgent care clinics also offer testing. If a person is uninsured or underinsured, they can call the COVID-19 hotline at 402-441-8006 and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will connect them to testing resources.

Students who test positive for COVID-19

Students who test positive for COVID-19 should notify the school health office as soon as possible and follow directions provided.

Quarantine and Exclusion

Lincoln Public Schools will continue to follow policies and protocols around illnesses as found on page 13 in the Important Information Handbook. In addition, LPS established the following requirements in consultation with and at the direction of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

Exclusion from an LPS building for illness

Following LPS policies around illnesses, if an individual has any symptoms the following is required before they can return:

  • The individual must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of medications.
  • The rash must be gone or there is a note from a medical provider which says the rash is not contagious to others.
  • The eyes are clear, with no drainage or a medical provider’s note stating the individual is not contagious.
  • No vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours.
  • Persistent cough is resolved without the aid of cough suppressant medication.
  • Or the individual must have a note stating medical clearance from a health care provider.

Isolation and Quarantine

Each case is unique and needs to be addressed individually. This chart provides general guidelines around isolation.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are expected to stay home for 5 days from the date obvious symptoms appeared (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell) or the date the COVID-19 test was taken. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 can return on day six if they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and have symptom improvement. Individuals shall wear a face covering for an additional 5 days when they return.

Individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 through a close contact are expected to wear a face covering for 10 days after the close contact and should seek testing 5 days after the exposure. A close contact is someone who was less than 6 feet away from an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 for a cumulative of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

Communication About Positive Cases

Starting August 15, anyone interested will be able to view the weekly total of positive COVID-19 cases identified in each building and across Lincoln Public Schools with the COVID-19 dashboard provided online. The information will be updated daily. We will no longer send out daily emails to staff and families about positive COVID-19 cases in buildings.


The complete updated Safe Return to School Plan can be found on our website: lps.org/safereturn.