Shawnee Mission votes to extend mask mandate to all students

Education

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Shawnee Mission school board voted 6-1 Thursday night to expand its mask mandate to all students pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.

The board previously voted to only require masks for students in elementary schools and make them optional for older students. Under that previous policy, staff at elementary schools who showed proof of vaccination could opt out of masking.

Now, with the district’s new policy, all students and staff, regardless of vaccination, will be required to wear masks indoors at school. All bus riders will also be required to wear a mask on the bus. Masks will not be required outside.

Shawnee Mission’s decision comes just hours after the Johnson County Commission voted 5-2 to require masks in school buildings where students up to 6th grade attend.

For some districts in Johnson County, this might just be their elementary schools, but in Shawnee Mission, many 6th graders are in middle schools. Under the county’s mask rule, 7th and 8th graders in those schools would also have to mask unless 6th graders are “physically separated from higher grades throughout the school day.”

Instead, Shawnee Mission opted for universal masking for all students and staff until further notice.

Olathe’s school board and other districts on the Missouri side are also meeting Thursday night to decide their plans on masks at school. Stick with fox4kc.com for updates on the districts’ decisions.

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