OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Much of the Monday evening Blue Valley Board of Education meeting was spent talking about COVID-19.
Board members heard from members of the public and their opinion on mask wearing, but the board also made some slight changes to the district's masking policy.
It happened at the same meeting where the board welcomed three new members — Kaety Bowers, Jim McMullen and Gina Knapp.
McMullen made motions to make masking optional for all children who attend Blue Valley early education programs and to have mask exemptions approved by parents, but those failed.
Knapp proposed the modification to the current masking policy and that passed.
After Knapp's motion passed, masking stays optional for all secondary schools.
However, starting Wednesday, students will mask up during school hours if absences due to illness exceeds 7%, or if they hit the current 3% threshold of COVID-19 positive cases.
"I am so concerned about our staffing issues right now, I’m hoping that this can help mitigate that some, because we want to finish the school year," Jodie Dietz, a Blue Valley board of education member said.
"At 5% absenteeism is when we typically do intensive cleaning and we start looking for common causes," Dr. Mark Schmidt, the assistant superintendent for the Blue Valley School District said. "And at 10% is when we are reporting it to the health department, so I think 7% is kind of a hedge to go lower to stop that spread to 10%."
The district is moving away from weekly reporting of positives cases and instead will report daily attendance.
It hopes to have that information up on its website by Tuesday.