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EUREKA, Mo. – The Rockwood School Board will hold a special meeting Tuesday night to reconsider its plan to drop the district’s mask mandate in a week and make masks highly recommended.

District spokesperson Mary Lapak said surging COVID cases prompted the Rockwood school board to call the special meeting and take another look at the plan. Figures show numerous COVID cases have been reported recently at multiple Rockwood schools.

Last month, the Rockwood school board voted unanimously to end the mask mandate for the largest district in St. Louis County on January 18 and instead make masks highly recommended. But now, the Rockwood administration is recommending that the mask mandate in the district be extended until after the next regular board meeting scheduled for February 3. Lapak said a vote on the potential extension of the mask mandate is expected at Tuesday’s meeting. The meeting will be held virtually due to COVID concerns.

Parkway School District board members will also take an additional look at their plan to drop the mask requirement. Last month, the Parkway school board voted to change its masking policy from required to recommended also on January 18. However, when Parkway board members approved the change, they also decided to hold another meeting this Thursday to analyze the COVID situation before moving forward with the change. FOX 2 reporter Chris Regnier was told board members at that meeting could alter their plan.

The latest figures from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force show COVID cases continuing to rise fueled by the omicron variant. 1,380 patients are currently hospitalized for COVID when confirmed and suspected cases are combined. That is a new record high for the pandemic. 216 COVID patients are in ICUs. That’s the fifth-highest total during the pandemic. 56 pediatric patients are now hospitalized battling COVID. 10 are in ICUs. 18 more COVID deaths were reported in the latest figures. So far this year 129 people have died from COVID in task force hospitals.