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Clinton school district drops face mask requirement


Teachers in Clinton, Missouri, on Monday saw many of their students’ faces for the first time in more than a year.The district school board voted unanimously last week to drop a requirement for face coverings in schools, citing a low number of COVID-19 cases and an ongoing fight to make sure students wear masks properly.Officially, the district still recommends face coverings. But they are not required. Clinton Superintendent Destry Brown said the district has logged only one positive COVID-19 case in the last seven weeks.”I think people in this community were ready to see some change,” Brown said. Aside from one comment disagreeing with the new policy on the district’s Facebook page, Brown said most feedback he has received is positive.He said teachers and school staff spent too much time trying to get kids to keep their masks on.”We need to teach,” Brown said. “We need to have positive relationships with kids, and at some level, it just feels like you’re just, the fight, and with the numbers that we have, is it worth all that?”Brown said he consulted with district staff, the school board, and a district advisory board about the change. He felt confident in the community vaccination numbers and also said the district could return to a full mask policy if numbers slide the wrong way.Clinton joins other districts in more areas of rural Missouri starting to drop face mask requirements in schools. Most districts in the Kansas City region, with higher prevalence of COVID-19, still have mask requirements in place. The CDC also still recommends masks in schools. “We’ve made it very clear in this county that we support the schools. They make their plans, we review it with them, but ultimately we’re supporting their decision,” said Henry County Health Director Peggy Bowles.KMBC did see several students still wearing masks on Monday as they went to recess at the Clinton Intermediate School.Brown said if any students or parents have concerns about the new policy, the district will make accommodations to work with those families.

Teachers in Clinton, Missouri, on Monday saw many of their students’ faces for the first time in more than a year.

The district school board voted unanimously last week to drop a requirement for face coverings in schools, citing a low number of COVID-19 cases and an ongoing fight to make sure students wear masks properly.

Officially, the district still recommends face coverings. But they are not required. Clinton Superintendent Destry Brown said the district has logged only one positive COVID-19 case in the last seven weeks.

“I think people in this community were ready to see some change,” Brown said.

Aside from one comment disagreeing with the new policy on the district’s Facebook page, Brown said most feedback he has received is positive.

He said teachers and school staff spent too much time trying to get kids to keep their masks on.

“We need to teach,” Brown said. “We need to have positive relationships with kids, and at some level, it just feels like you’re just, the fight, and with the numbers that we have, is it worth all that?”

Brown said he consulted with district staff, the school board, and a district advisory board about the change. He felt confident in the community vaccination numbers and also said the district could return to a full mask policy if numbers slide the wrong way.

Clinton joins other districts in more areas of rural Missouri starting to drop face mask requirements in schools. Most districts in the Kansas City region, with higher prevalence of COVID-19, still have mask requirements in place. The CDC also still recommends masks in schools.

“We’ve made it very clear in this county that we support the schools. They make their plans, we review it with them, but ultimately we’re supporting their decision,” said Henry County Health Director Peggy Bowles.

KMBC did see several students still wearing masks on Monday as they went to recess at the Clinton Intermediate School.

Brown said if any students or parents have concerns about the new policy, the district will make accommodations to work with those families.

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