Jackson County legislators to discuss K-12 mask mandate

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Posted at 6:55 AM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 08:23:05-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When legislators in Jackson County, Missouri, meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, they will discuss implementing a mask mandate for all students, staff and visitors at schools within the county’s jurisdiction.

The proposal applies to the following districts: Blue Springs, Fort Osage, Grain Valley, Lone Jack, Oak Grove, Grandview, Lee’s Summit, and Raytown. The last three currently have mandates of their own in place.

Schools within the Independence, KCPS, Hickman Mills, and Center school districts follow different rules, all of which currently have a mask mandate.

Legislators Scott Burnett, Jalen Anderson and Crystal Williams have sponsored the proposal — ordinance 5591 — at the request of County Executive Frank White, who publicly called for a K-12 mask mandate last week.

According to data gathered by the Mid-America Regional Council, the area of Jackson County outside Kansas City’s limits reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day on Friday, Jan. 14, with 801 positive cases.

Sponsoring legislators will likely use information about new cases, hospitalizations and vaccine rates to support the ordinance.

Current data from the parts of the county outside Kansas City and Independence shows 14 percent of children ages 5-11 are fully vaccinated, while roughly 40 percent of children ages 12-17 are fully vaccinated.

Parents in Blue Springs, where masks are currently optional, told KSHB 41 News they’d rather local school boards make decisions about masks.

“The county is not at the schools,” said Carl Larsen, who has two high school-aged children. “I believe the school district can make that point on their own because I know the school district has our kids’ best interests at heart.”

The legislature meets at 10 a.m. at the Jackson County courthouse at 415 East 12th Street in Kansas City, Missouri.

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