Following an announcement by the state that last week that schools can stop quarantining students and staff if they have possibly been exposed to the coronavirus as long as everyone is wearing masks, Bourbon School District Superintendent Kyle Gibbs says he will not be recommending the board of education change the district’s current policy.
“We will be discussing it at the next meeting; however, I will not be recommending expanding our current masking guidelines which are to wear them in the hallways and commons areas,” Gibbs said. “The only change we might consider is wearing them on buses to prevent quarantining from buses.”
On November 12, Governor Mike Parson, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced modifications to Missouri’s K-12 school reopening and operating guidance.
Under the updated guidance, proper mask wearing may now prevent individuals from being identified as close contacts in K-12 schools that have implemented a mask mandate. This means that if both individuals at school—the person diagnosed with COVID-19 and the person exposed to the positive case—have masks on and are wearing them correctly, the individual exposed does not need to quarantine.
Exposed individuals should self-monitor for symptoms and stay home at the first sign of illness. They should also continue to wear a mask at all times to further reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus. The person who tests positive for COVID-19 is still required to isolate at home. Close contacts in K-12 schools should continue to quarantine at home for 14 days if (1) their school does not require students and staff to wear masks, or (2) the mask was not being worn appropriately by either the person diagnosed with COVID-19 or the person who was exposed.
“Schools that are consistently implementing COVID-19 mitigation strategies remain among the safest places for our students,” Governor Parson said. “We believe this change will lead to more schools encouraging proper mask usage, helping to further protect students and educators from the spread of the virus.”