Logo courtesy of Springfield R-12 Public Schools

Springfield Public Schools: Wearing Masks will be Optional for All Students Starting January 4th

When Springfield School District students returns to class on January 4th following the Winter Break, they will no longer be forced to wear face masks.

The R-12 district released the updated policy through the following press release:

Throughout the pandemic, Springfield Public Schools has focused on creating a school environment that protects the safety and well-being of students and staff. During the past six months, our efforts have focused on practices that contribute to maintaining in-person learning five days a week. These strategies were outlined in the 2021-2022 Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan.

At the time it was published, we committed to review the plan after six months and consider what, if any, modifications are necessary. We recently completed that review and have updated the plan, which you may view here.

As promised throughout the fall, our intention has been to remove the masking mandate in January. All students ages 5-18 have now had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. When students return Jan. 4, wearing masks will be optional. Masks will be strongly recommended while in district facilities. Due to a federal mandate, masks must continue to be worn at all times while riding public transportation, including school buses and other district-provided transportation.

The Missouri Attorney General recently issued a cease and desist letter that placed school districts and public health officials in a very difficult situation, limiting our ability to respond during a pandemic. Without clarification from a court regarding the Attorney General’s recent directives, SPS has no other option but to modify our COVID-19 quarantine protocols. Updates to the district’s plan include the following:

  • Parents or guardians should continue to monitor students regularly for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Students and staff exhibiting symptoms of any illness must stay home until symptoms resolve and/or they are cleared by a medical provider to return. For more information on the related policy and procedures, view the student handbook.
  • COVID-positive students will continue to be excluded from school and school activities for 10 days.
  • Students who are identified as direct contacts of a COVID-positive individual will be notified; however, they will not be excluded from school unless they are symptomatic.
  • SPS will continue to report weekly COVID-19 cases at sps.org/covidstats. However, daily public notifications of COVID cases will end.

SPS will continue to monitor health conditions in schools and the community and will make modifications to its COVID-19 protocols as warranted. 

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