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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Clay County Board of Health has voted to recommend masking in schools for the 2021-2022 school year.

The board met Wednesday night in a special meeting to outline recommendations that will be sent to individual school districts regarding COVID-19 protocols.

The board voted unanimously to recommend masking in schools, citing the ongoing surge of cases and hospitalizations of children due to the delta variant.

The recommendations are non-binding and school districts are free to implement whatever policies they wish.

The board also recommended that students distance as much as possible and wear masks when engaged in indoor, close-contact sports.

The guidelines lay out a quarantine exemption if a student has previously tested positive for COVID-19 and is asymptomatic. The board also recommends no perfect attendance awards or punishments for missed classes due to illness.