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CDC recommends everyone in K-12 schools wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status

As COVID-19 cases surge, CDC recommends universal indoor mask use
Posted at 2:19 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 15:19:54-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended everyone in K-12 school settings wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, on Tuesday

Previous CDC guidance advised that all unvaccinated individuals 2 years old and older should wear masks at school.

However, previous guidance, including the announcement that vaccinated individuals no longer needed face coverings, came before the delta variant caused a resurgence in cases.

The debate over whether schools should require masks, not require masks or leave the option to parents has become a source of contention in the Kansas City area.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services released guidance encouraging districts to work with local health departments to find ways to safely keep students in-person.

DHSS did not recommend a mask requirement.

On the Kansas side, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment recommended: requiring masks inside for those not fully vaccinated, promoting vaccination, sending any person home who may have COVID-19 and sending anyone who may be close to a person who has the virus home.

Even so, the decision has ultimately been left up to the districts.

Shawnee Mission School District voted 6-1 Monday night to require elementary-aged students to wear masks until they are eligible to be vaccinated.

SMSD staff can opt-out of wearing a face covering if they are fully vaccinated.

Additionally, anyone on a school bus is required to mask up, and outside visitors to elementary schools must wear a mask.

The Spring Hill School District decided Monday night that masks would be “highly encouraged” but not required for those not fully vaccinated.

Optional mask wearing was also adopted by Gardner Edgerton, with the board voting 3-4 Monday night against requiring masks for students in kindergarten through 6th grade.

Last week, the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to require masks for all students, staff, parents and visitors.

Their plan explicitly states that face coverings must contain multiple layers and cannot have exhalation valves or vents. Coverings such as bandannas, single-layer gaiters and face shields will not be permitted.

Further, masks will be required on school buses but will not be required if actively eating, drinking or sleeping.

The same week, the Blue Valley School District decided to not require masks for students and staff.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools' board meeting on July 21 did not end with a decision.

With school starting soon and new guidance from the CDC, districts have less than a month to flesh out their COVID-19 mitigation plans before students return.