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ST. LOUIS – Students in the Fort Zumwalt School District in O’Fallon, Missouri, and St. Charles County will be back in the classroom on Monday.

The district’s superintendent Dr. Bernard DuBray explained their plan for masks in the classroom out on the Lakeside Renovation and Design Weather Deck.

Not only are children doing in-person classes, but the district also gave them the option to continue learning virtually.

The district’s mask policy for this fall is optional for the first 30 days and then the school board will vote again at the next school board meeting. There was a 4-3 vote made by the school board to get to the mask optional policy decision. The decisive vote came from school board member Thomas Emmons who now resides in Florida. He moved there in June. DuBray said he doesn’t think this violates a law because Emmons is still a registered voter in the area.

“I personally don’t see it as an issue,” DuBray said.

Emmons’ term is up in April.

The CDC is recommending universal masking in schools. Previously the district said they will follow rules and recommendations from government agencies. Since Fort Zumwalt is making the mask policy optional, they are therefore not following government agency recommendations.

“Well, it’s a recommendation,” DuBray said. “Masks optional does not mean no masks. It means you have an option, and so there will be parents that will send their kids with masks to school and we’re going to make it work as best we can. We’re going to take a look at it in 30 days.”

DuBray is the longest-serving superintendent in the state of Missouri with 37 years at Fort Zumwalt.