Park Hill School Board voted Friday night to bring back mask mandate for all school facilities

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Posted at 6:47 PM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 19:47:56-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Park Hill School Board voted in a special meeting Friday night to bring back the district's mask mandate.

The vote was 6-1 with board member Scott Monsees as the lone no vote.

The mandate will begin Jan. 9 and run through Feb. 3.

Masks must be worn in all school district facilities.

Board members have a regularly scheduled meeting for Jan. 27 and will review COVID-19 data to see if any changes to the mandate are needed.

The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council voted Thursday to reinstate a mask mandate for K-12 in schools.

That mandate also runs through Feb. 3.

Park Hill board members allowed only written comments about whether to restore the mandate, and more than 350 were sent to the board.

Tammy Saylor, director of health services for the district, told the board there had been 352 COVID-19 positive cases in the district since Monday.

She said school health rooms were busy with students coming in with coughs, fevers and runny noses.

The district is having a hard time getting enough substitute teachers as cases rise in the schools.

Dr. Bill Redinger, assistant superintendent for human resources, said the most recent sub-fill rate was just 73%, which has forced administrators, principals, assistant principals, office staff and others to fill in.

"It's been an incredible effort by the staff this week," Redinger told the board. "Everyone is covering. It's a great strain on the staff."

Teachers who fill in for their sick colleagues lose planning time and individual sessions with their students, he said.

Park Hill Superintendent Dr. Jeanette Cowherd said the district needs to keep its doors open and that kids do better when in school buildings.