Gardner Edgerton School District makes masks optional

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Posted at 7:49 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 00:02:27-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Gardner Edgerton School District 231 will not require students to wear masks. Face coverings will, however, remain optional.

The Board of Education voted, 3-4, Monday night against requiring masks for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

The motion came after board member Kristen Schultz said students in those grades cannot be vaccinated and wanted a mask requirement. But after about 30 minutes of debate between board members, they ultimately voted it down.

The current policy allows masks to be optional for everyone.

However, one parent who addressed the board said she wanted a mask mandate for all students.

"It’s very concerning. I know my kids will be masked regardless," said Stacie Kelly, who has four children in the district all under the age of 12. "With what I’ve seen recently, working in multiple hospitals, is more sick kids. And I’m concerned without a mask mandate that number is just going to go up and in an end result our kids are going to miss a lot of school because of quarantine protocols."

District staff told the board they will work closely with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment about any potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

"If a student tests positive and is unmasked, all students – masked or unmasked – within a six-foot radius of that person for more than a 10-minute period would need to quarantine," said Ryan Colston, Gardner Edgerton school supervisor of Youth and Community Programs.

Colston also discussed additional measures the district is taking to keep students and staff safe:

  • Cleaning and maintenance procedures will continue to follow enhanced sanitization protocols.
  • Parents and employees will continue to be required to report confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 to the building administration or their supervisor.
  • Staff and students with a confirmed case of COVID-19 must quarantine according to the most recent JCDHE guidance.
  • Parents and employees will continue to be notified if they or their children have been exposed (low, moderate or high-risk exposure).

Classes begin Aug. 12.