Parkway School District approves extending mask mandate

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BALLWIN, Mo. — The Parkway School District’s school board voted Thursday to extend its mask mandate for students and staff through Feb. 18.

In a 7-0 vote, school board members unanimously approved the extension. This comes days after Rockwood School District also voted to extend their mask requirement.

Parkway Schools reached high levels of transmission, the largest number of cases since the pandemic began. Back in December, the district voted to change its policy to masks recommended.

As infections showed no signs of slowing down, school board members reversed their decision.

“We must continue to do our due diligence in maintaining covid protocols to keep students and staff healthy said Parkway Deputy Superintendent Chelsea Watson.

Some parents are not in favor of the mandate.

“If students want to wear a mask, awesome. If teachers want to wear a mask, I have no problem with that,” said parent Rebecca Porter. “What I have a problem with is the mandate of everyone must wear a mask.”

According to the St. Louis Pandemic Task Force, 225 new patients have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the area. About 66% of those patients are unvaccinated, and 43% are vaccinated.

Pediatric cases are also high but have dropped slightly in the last day. Currently, 60 kids are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 30 of the pediatric cases affect children 11 years old or younger.

These numbers are one of the reasons driving the board’s decision.

“We will continue to monitor conditions in the community at large and we will continue to pay attention to the guidelines put forth by the CDC,” said Watson.

The mandate will continue when classes resume on Tuesday and run through Feb. 18. To see the district’s pandemic response plan, click here.

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