(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Like many schools across the country, the St. Joseph School District is trying to figure out how they'll best respond to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
"We realize that this is going to be a concern as we start school." Tami Pasley, school board director, SJSD said.
The question of whether to mask or not to mask may be a simple one, but Pasley said the task is actually more difficult this time around.
"It's a lot harder this year than it was last year because of the situation we're in," Pasley said.
District leaders are asking for the input of parents, teachers, and students in the form of a short survey.
The survey asks whether takers prefer masks to be required or not for students initially when classes start on August 23.
For at least one staff member, the choice is simple.
J. Eric Simmons who teaches at Central High School is in full support of a mandate.
"Starting out the school year with masks in the classrooms is almost assuredly one of the best ways that we can ensure that our students will remain in the classroom," he said.
Those in the district say they know the decision isn't easy, but they want to do what's best for kids, as well as make sure everyone's voice is heard.
"This affects [students] the most as far as how they're educated," Pasley said. "Be it virtually or in person."
"That is how we can have real conversations about what is best to do for our schools and our students," Simmons said.
Parents, students, and teachers in the district have until Sunday evening to complete the survey before the school board is set to make a final decision the following Monday, August 9.
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