Nearly 200 doctors call for Blue Valley Schools to make masks required for all

Education

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Nearly 200 Kansas City area doctors have signed an open letter to the Blue Valley school board urging the district to require universal masking when the school year begins later this month.

Blue Valley was one of the first local districts to declare that masks would be optional in the upcoming year.

Urban districts — including Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas — already have put universal mask policies in place, but most Johnson County districts have been planning to make masks optional.

But just Monday night, the De Soto USD 232 school board voted to require face masks indoors for all students, faculty and staff. Shawnee Mission has also opted to require masks for just elementary students.

In the letter, the doctors argue that low vaccination rates among young people and what they call “weak mitigation measures” across the region make spread of the Delta variant inevitable.

The doctors write that keeping kids in class and in-person should be the goal.

To make sure that happen, they’d like to see Blue Valley adopt a universal masking policy, writing that masks are “a simple, cheap and life-saving intervention.”

There’s also an online petition supporting the letter, which had nearly 2,300 signatures as of Monday.

The school board meets next week. That’s the earliest any potential change could be considered.

Kids younger than 12 still are not eligible to get the vaccine, and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment said only about 14% of children 17 and younger have been inoculated.

Blue Valley school administrators sent the following statement to FOX4 in regard to the letter:

“We continue to monitor developments surrounding the recent surge of COVID-19 in our area, as well as local, state and national guidance as it relates to the safety of our students and community. The situation is evolving quickly and our primary goal remains to provide in-person learning in the safest manner possible. We expect to have more details about our steps for moving forward in the coming days.”

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