Cass County school district cancels class, implements mask mandate due to ‘excessive quarantines’

Education

CREIGHTON, Mo. — A Cass County school district canceled school on Friday with nearly one-third of its students impacted by COVID-19.

The Sherwood-Cass R-8 school board voted Thursday to amend its calendar and call off classes for Friday due to “excessive quarantines and isolations.”

As of Thursday, 32.6% of all students were either in quarantine or isolation, Superintendent Steve Ritter said. There are 833 total in the district.

Friday night’s football game and senior night will still take place. The district said it’s not having as many issues with COVID exposures during athletics and activities. Classroom exposures, especially with younger students, are the biggest factor, it said.

With classroom exposures in mind, the school board also voted 5-1 to require masks for all pre-K through 12th grade students and staff starting Tuesday after everyone returns from the Labor Day holiday.

Cass County has not had a mask mandate at any point during the pandemic, so the decision on masks at school has been left up to the district. While most districts in the county don’t require them, Raymore-Peculiar School District did opt for a mask mandate this school year.

Last month, the state health department dubbed Cass County a COVID-19 “hot spot” as cases climbed.

From Aug. 22-28, over 16% of all Cass County COVID tests were positive. Like most areas, Cass County saw its worst spike in cases last winter, but cases have surged again in July and August as the delta variant spreads.

Missouri’s vaccine dashboard reports that 41.6% of Cass County residents have initiated vaccination. That’s below the state vaccination rate of 52% and below some counties in the immediate Kansas City metro, but well above neighbor Johnson County, Missouri, which sits at 29.1%.

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