Several KC-area school districts keep mask policies leading up to summer break


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With only a few days left in the school year, some metro districts face decisions on masks, and it’s a mixed bag.

Some districts are already looking ahead to next school year.

In Shawnee Mission, there are eight days left in their school year. Some parents said they want to see students end the year maskless. However, the district said it’s abiding by CDC guidelines.

“We’ve got to get to the end of it. I just hope people will hang on because we all want to get there,” said David Smith, spokesman for Shawnee Mission Schools.

In Olathe, they are also keeping their policy in place two days ahead of summer break.

“We felt like we needed to keep keep the mask in place that we could finish out the year strong and, and that that couple couple more days would would be okay,” said John Allison, Olathe Public Schools superintendent.

Most of eastern Jackson County schools — like Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit — dropped their mask policies, but others are keeping them active.

“We are all tired of wearing masks. We are all ready to be done with it. The way to get there is to get everyone vaccinated so we can do it safely. So I’m tired. I want to be done with it, and as soon as we’re able to we will do that. I promise you that,” Smith said.

Holly Custer’s children are in the Shawnee Mission School District. She said it’s been hard for her daughter to learn, but understands why masking is important.

“My daughter has an IEP through the Shawnee Mission School District, and it’s been harder for her to understand what the teacher is saying or how to express herself more clearly,” Custer said.

At Hickman Mills, they are helping students get vaccinated and hope this fall a wider range of children can get the vaccine.

“I’m very hopefully optimistic that we will be face to face and hopefully maskless. By time we start school again, if people continue to get vaccinated, and we continue to take precautions, we’ll be able to stamp this out enough for us to have regular school,” said Yaw Obeng, superintendent of Hickman Mills.

It’s unclear what the plan will be for most districts going into the 2021-2022 school year. Some districts say they hope to have a plan in place before enrollment begins this summer.

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