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Shawnee Mission School District passes mask mandate for pre-K through 12th grade schools

JoCo commissioners passed requirement earlier
SMSD AUG 5.jpg
Posted at 5:01 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 13:41:20-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Following the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners’ decision to implement a mask mandate for students kindergarten through 6th grade, the Shawnee Mission School District took it a step further.

The district's board voted 6-1 Thursday night to implement masking for students and staff grades prekindergarten through 12th.

During a special meeting Thursday afternoon — hours after the commissioners met — the board decided to adjust the mask requirements that were already in place.

The board voted 6-1 in July to require masks for all elementary school students until they are eligible to be vaccinated.

Board members contended the expansion would allow them to keep more schools open and for longer.

Without masks for middle and high school students, members were concerned about the potential for the faster-spreading delta variant to put a number of students in quarantine.

SMSD's shortest quarantine is eight days long.

Members also noted remote learning is significantly limited for the coming school year. Each student is allowed up to 40 hours of remote learning.

Brad Stratton was the only board member to vote no on both measures.

Thursday night, he cited concerns with enforcement and athletics.

Shawnee Mission was among the Kansas City metro school districts that faced lawsuits in the previous school year because of its mask mandates. At that time, a Johnson County District Court judge ruled in the school district’s favor.