St. Louis area schools change mask requirements for summer school


ST. LOUIS – As summer school starts for area schools, some districts are changing their mask requirements.

Rockwood School District announced that masks are optional in all Rockwood buildings. The change went into effect Monday.

However, students are required to wear a mask on the bus since it’s considered public transportation, the district said in a letter to parents.

Summer school is only in-person for K-8; high school summer school is virtual. The district is also no longer requiring daily health screenings for visitors and staff, but physical distancing will be in place whenever possible.

The district said it considered many factors when making the decision including that vaccinations are readily available and that more adults and eligible children got the vaccine. They also took into account that, “during summer school our kids are here for half a day, its far fewer children so we have the ability to socially distance, positive cases in our schools have been drastically reduced and in the county as well and so we felt comfortable going with optional masks,” Mary LaPak, Rockwood School District executive director communications said. “For those who want to send their kids in masks, we absolutely encourage them to do that.”

Parkway School District announced Tuesday it will no longer require masks for students and staff when they are outside and can properly social distance. Summer school starts Monday, June 14, in the Parkway School District.

“When students and staff are indoors during class, current health and safety protocols will remain in place, including masking,” the district said in an email to parents.

According to the letter, Parkway staff that are supervising students outside don’t have to wear a mask if they are at least six feet from others, but staff must have a mask with them “and wear it when they need to interact with others and can’t follow the social distancing guideline.”

In the Wentzville School District, protocols are similar to Parkway. Masks are optional when outdoors for summer school students and summer staff, but masks are required “indoors and when social distancing is not feasible,” the District Chief Communications Officer Derrick Docket. Summer school runs from June 8 through July 1 at WSD. “Social distancing is recommended whenever possible,” Docket said.

Francis Howell School District’s summer school and summer camp programs begin Monday, June 14. The district updated its mask-wearing guidance for summer, “Masks will be optional for all outdoor activities during summer school. Masks will continue to be required for all students and teachers in indoor classrooms. (Requiring masks indoors allows for modified quarantine, which means students and staff identified as close contacts can continue attending school as long as masks were worn at the time of exposure.)”

In FHSD, masks are optional for adult summer employees beginning June 9 when they are not working directly with students. When or if they do work directly with students, masks are required.

Rockwood, Francis Howell, and Parkway school districts have not made a decision for mask requirements when school returns in the fall.

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