GCR-2 directors expected to vote on ending local bus mask mandate

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 2/23/22

The Gasconade County R-2 Board of Education held its monthly meeting on Tuesday night (after The Republican’s deadline) where they were expected to update their COVID-19 Safe Return to Schools …

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GCR-2 directors expected to vote on ending local bus mask mandate

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The Gasconade County R-2 Board of Education held its monthly meeting on Tuesday night (after The Republican’s deadline) where they were expected to update their COVID-19 Safe Return to Schools Continuity Plan.

Superintendent Dr. Jeri Kay Hardy said she could only foresee one change being made. “We are going to probably go back to making the masking optional on bus transportation,” Hardy said.

While the school district has not enforced masking within the schools, choosing instead to leave it optional for students and parents, a federal mandate has dictated that everyone using public transportation, including school buses, wear a mask.

“The exemption has not been lifted at the federal level,” Hardy said.

She explained that she attended a conference with the Federal Board of Education where a Missouri representative informed superintendents that school bus transportation has been exempted from the transportation mask mandate.

“Kids are still wearing them on the buses currently because it has been mandated,” Hardy explained.

If the board chooses to exempt the district from the mask mandate, it will be up to parents if they want their students to wear a mask, versus mandated, just like it is in the buildings, according to Hardy.

“The school board has to review that monthly,” Hardy said of the COVID-19 Continuity Plan. “We didn’t think there would be an update until I went to the National meeting and the U.S. Department of Education director’s representative was there.”

The item was on the Tuesday evening agenda, but results were unavailable prior to printing.

“As far as COVID and continuity, we don’t have any cases this week that I know of,” Hardy said. “No one is out for COVID that I know of.”

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