After Jackson County vote, some school districts drop mask mandates

Education

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — On the same day that the Jackson County Legislature voted to rescind its mask mandate, some school districts are taking up action.

Jackson County’s mask mandate was originally set to continue until at least Nov. 22, but the group of divided legislators voted 5-4 Friday morning to end the masking rule immediately.

The health department said Jackson County and others surrounding it are still considered to have high transmission rates, according to the CDC, and masking is still encouraged in public.

But before Friday morning, Jackson County was one of just three jurisdictions in the Kansas City area to have a mask rule, along with Wyandotte County and Roeland Park.

Kansas City leaders decided not to continue the city’s mask mandate earlier this month, instead only requiring them in school buildings, and the city of Independence doesn’t have a mask mandate currently.

Some Jackson County leaders at Friday’s meeting said they were concerned that if the county’s mandate ended immediately, it wouldn’t give school districts enough time to react.

Hours later, that doesn’t appear to be the case though.

Note: FOX4 is working to check with several other Jackson County school districts. Here’s what we’ve learned so far.

Blue Springs

The Blue Springs school board quickly voted 7-0 Friday to follow the county’s decision, dropping its mask rule at school effective immediately.

“It would be inconsistent and arbitrary to keep the mask mandate in our schools if our students and staff were not being asked to wear a mask in any other setting,” the district said in a letter to families.

Masks will still be required on school buses under a federal mandate for public transportation.

Independence

A spokesperson for the Independence School District confirmed to FOX4 that the district will make masks optional for grades 6-12 and all staff.

Masks will still be required for kids age 2 through 5th grade until at least the winter holiday break.

The city of Independence, which has its own health department and is not under control of Jackson County’s health orders, has not recently had a mask mandate. But the school district opted to require masks for all students and staff at the beginning of the school year.

Masks will still be required on school buses under a federal mandate.

Fort Osage

After the Jackson County Legislature’s vote, the Fort Osage School District announced Friday that masks will be optional for students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

The district noted that masks will still be required on school buses, per federal guidelines.

Lee’s Summit

In a letter to families, Lee’s Summit School District said its mask mandate will remain in effect until at least Nov. 18, which is the school board’s next scheduled meeting.

Regardless of what the board decides, students and staff at Summit Pointe Elementary, located in Kansas City limits, will still be required to wear masks under that city’s school mask mandate, which is in effect until Dec. 2.

Masks will still be required for everyone on school buses under a federal mandate for public transportation.

Grain Valley

A spokesman for the Grain Valley School District said when Jackson County ended its mask mandate, the district reverted to its previously adopted health and safety protocols.

That means mask use is strongly recommended, but optional, in Grain Valley schools and facilities.

Students are still required to wear a mask on the school bus.

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