ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – At a special Mehlville School Board meeting Thursday night, board members approved a plan that will result in changes to the district’s COVID protocols.
This comes as officials in St. Louis County rescinded the mask mandate Thursday morning. Earlier this week, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sent letters to school districts and local public health agencies throughout Missouri demanding that they stop all COVID-related health orders such as mask mandates. His letter was sent as a result of a Cole County judge ruling the orders were unconstitutional and that any existing COVID health orders were null and void.
But in the Mehlville School District, masks will continue to be required inside all buildings until December 23, 2021. Starting on that day, the district will move to a mask-recommended policy for grades 9 to 12. Masks will continue to be required in early childhood, elementary and middle schools in the district until January 17 of next year. On January 17, Mehlville will move to a mask-recommended policy for all grades.
There are plans in place to return to masks being required in certain buildings if COVID cases surge in a particular area.
There are also changes coming to the Lindbergh School District. A letter sent out from Superintendent Dr. Tony Lake said masks will continue to be required for the rest of this semester, but he said the Lindbergh District will make masks optional when students and staff return from winter break on January 5, 2022.
Like Mehlville, there are plans in place in the Lindbergh School District for individual buildings to return to masks being required for a certain period of time if COVID cases surge in a specific building. Lake said COVID-19 data for the surrounding community will also be considered in these cases.
On Wednesday, Schmitt asked parents to contact his office about districts that haven’t altered their policies. A spokesperson for Schmitt said as of Thursday afternoon the AG’s office had received more than 3,200 emails with an overwhelming majority of them opposing mask mandates. Schmitt has now sent out over 33 cease and desist letters to Missouri school districts telling them to immediately drop orders like mask mandates.
Students and parents in Rockwood spoke out Thursday protesting the district’s refusal to make masks optional. More than 100 Rockwood students went to school without a mask on Thursday.
“I went into school with no mask on,” Rockwood student Reid Latall said.
Student Mason Mayer added, “I don’t feel as if they have the right to tell us to wear the mask.”
Parent Morgan Veazey explained, “If people want to mask their kids, that’s their choice. But we should have the freedom and the choice to unmask our kids.”
District officials said there will be no discipline for those students, but they are following up with parents to let them know that their kids can’t come to school without following the district’s safety protocols.
The students plan to make a presentation to the Rockwood School Board next week, but, until then, some do plan to mask up.