Ozark Public Schools announces masking plan for school year, other districts waiting to announce

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 5:03 PM CDT
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OZARK, Mo. (KY3) - School districts are rolling out plans for masking over the next two weeks, after Springfield Public Schools announced it will require masks for everyone.

Tuesday, the Ozark School District shared a plan that for the start of the school year. School leaders will let families decide if they should mask or not.

“We are strongly encouraging masks so just as the CDC has recommended,” Chris Bauman, Superintendent, Ozark School District says. “As a matter of fact, we’re one-upping the CDC we’re saying we strongly recommend that you wear a mask.”

But this could change. The magic number for the district is 8%. If 8% of students are positive or have come in contact and need to be in quarantine a building could return to masking for everyone.

“From our data last year we feel like that’s kind of the preceding what might be the tipping point to like a super spreader event,” Bauman says. “So that’s really kind of our tipping point is looking at that 8%.”

Nixa School District’s plan is expected to roll out next week. It announced last week 7% is its number that would bring back the masking for everyone. Regardless you will see some of the same procedures used in 2020-2021 school year again. That includes encouraging classes to take place outside and keeping classrooms in cohorts. This is all part of hoping to avoiding quarantines and keeping students in seated classrooms is a focus for all the districts. Nixa school leaders say it will test for COVID-19 in schools.

Republic school leaders say it will too. They are even hiring a few nurses’s aides to help with that. Republic’s Superintendent Dr. Matt Pearce says parents can expect to hear about its plan next week.

Tuesday, the Willard School Board will hear the district’s plan for masking as it returns back to school. They hope to finalize the plan with the feedback they get from the board. The goal is to release that plan on August 9.

Springfield set the stage last week with requiring all staff, students and visitors to be masked. Other districts are looking to see what works best for families.

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