Shawnee Mission School Board considering mask policy for rest of school year

2 proposals are on the table.
Shawnee Mission's School Board will have a special meeting Monday to discuss what to do about...
Shawnee Mission's School Board will have a special meeting Monday to discuss what to do about masking in schools.
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 5:26 AM CDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ks. (KCTV) - Face coverings are once again the center of discussion within the Shawnee Mission School District.

The district’s School Board will host a special meeting Monday to determine their mask policy the rest of the school year, which could include either getting rid of masks altogether or a temporary return to masking in schools with a high number of COVID cases.

The mask requirement, if approved, would affect individual school buildings with over 5 percent COVID-related absences. If a definitive decision is made Monday, that decision will go into effect the next day and is slated to last through the end of the current school year.

As it stands now, seven district schools require masks, because they have reached previously-approved criteria for the mandate. Under Shawnee Mission rules, individual schools must enact mask requirements if a school’s illness-related absences reach over 5 percent or if its COVID-19 positivity rate reaches above 3 percent.

A proposal was made at April 11′s School Board meeting to end mask requirements at Shawnee Mission schools. That decision was pushed to a special Board meeting Monday at 5 p.m. at the district offices at 8200 W. 71st St. in Overland Park. KCTV5 will be monitoring that meeting and will give you the latest on any decisions that are made.

As of last week’s data, Johnson County is at just under 7 percent COVID positivity rate. COVID cases within the county are averaging 25 a day, a 10 percent increase from the previous week. The county is averaging around 11 new COVID hospitalizations a day and hasn’t had a death since March 7, according to data from local hospitals compiled by the Mid-America Regional Council.

Metro-wide, daily new hospitalizations from COVID-19 are standing steady at around 60 a day. The metro is averaging 52 new COVID cases a day, down 15 percent from the previous week. Daily new deaths stand at around 2 or so per day.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated the School Board could consider a measure to return the district to universal masking. The school district says that is not the case, but rather would affect individual schools that reach the threshold mentioned in the story.