Springfield Public Schools announced late Tuesday they are going to require all students and teachers participating in their July summer programs to wear masks.
The district said they will provide masks for students who do not have one. The masking will be required until July 30, when the district will make a decision regarding masking beyond that date.
“In our ongoing evaluation of pandemic-related data, and in anticipation of a continued surge related to holiday gatherings over the July 4 holiday, we recommended that SPS implement these additional steps through the end of July,” Katie Towns, interim director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, said in a statement. “We appreciate our partnership with SPS and their willingness to adapt their protocols to best serve the public as positive cases, hospitalizations and related deaths continue to increase. It is our hope that the public will take this opportunity to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from preventable illness.”
The district cited a number of reasons for their decision to return to mandatory masking:
- An increase in COVID-19 positive cases among SPS students and staff throughout Explore Session 1 in June.
- A current surge in COVID-19 positive cases in the community and region, many related to the Delta variant.
- A current surge in local hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19.
- An anticipated surge later this week from July 4 holiday celebrations.
- Ongoing low vaccination rates for Greene County – currently at 38.97 percent
Social distancing and other COVID restrictions that were in place during the school year will also be enforced.
“SPS will continue to evaluate data, in close collaboration with the health department, to determine any need for adjustments to this protocol after July 30. More information about masking and other health and safety guidance will be provided at that time,” said Dr. Grenita Lathan, Springfield Public Schools superintendent. “We thank the public for understanding of our need to adapt protocols, as the pandemic continues to impact our community, in order to help ensure the health and safety of all those we serve. It is our hope that immediate, proactive efforts will positively impact our community.”