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Some parents disappointed by SJSD mask policy

Jessica Morris is a local mom with kids in the St. Joseph School District. She said she wishes board members would have given parents the option of masks in school as opposed to a requirement similar to the district’s approach to summer school.

Posted: Aug 11, 2021 1:07 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Some parents are disappointed by the St. Joseph School Board’s decision to require masks in schools districtwide.

Jessica Morris is a local mom with kids in the St. Joseph School District. She said she wishes board members would have given parents the option of masks in school as opposed to a requirement similar to the district’s approach to summer school.

“I just enjoyed that freedom that they had to choose if they wanted to wear the mask or not,” Morris said. “I understand that they are looking after the safety of everybody trying to implement the mask but really I don’t see how, if there’s a virus, how it’s going to be contained in a mask.”

During the board meeting Monday, the idea of giving parents the option was raised by board member Rick Gilmore. But district Superintendent Doug Van Zyl responded the individual choice was difficult to implement administratively compared to a straightforward policy. Additionally, board member LaTonya Williams reminded the room of how two in-person summer school programs were cut short due to COVID-19 exposures.

The School Board ultimately voted in favor of requiring masks at the beginning of the school year with a standing agenda item to reconsider the policy on a monthly basis.

A slight majority of parents, 53 percent, surveyed by the district were in favor of starting the school year with a mask requirement.

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