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Nixa School District requiring masks for upcoming school year

Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 10:02 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2020 at 5:44 PM CDT
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NIXA, Mo. (KY3) - The Nixa School District will make masks mandatory for all students and faculty inside facilities beginning July 20.

Students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade will be required to wear masks. Any student refusing to wear one will be forced to leave the school. Superintendent of Nixa Schools, Dr. Jearl Loden, said the district wants to be proactive, rather than retroactive.

“We’re enhancing our protocols for the start of school, based on the counts going up,” Loden said.

Any employee who refuses to wear a mask will be disciplined and could be terminated. There are some exceptions to the requirement-- like when you’re eating, drinking or if you have a note from a doctor. Loden also said teachers can be flexible about that mask rule, if social distancing measures can be taken in their classroom.

“In a normal room where we can spread out, you can take your mask off,” Loden said. “But at the same time, if we’re in a room that every kid wants to be in this class and it’s 30 kids in the room, the teacher may say hey we can’t really socially distance here so we need for you to keep your mask on.”

One grandparent, Janet Groves, said she thinks it will be hard for her kindergartner to keep a mask on and pay attention in school.

“School is gonna be hard for a kindergartner anyway, even if they’ve been in a headstart or daycare situation,” Groves said. “But to go to a new situation with a new teacher, it’s just gonna be tough.”

However, Groves said she supports masking. Her family has been staying at home as much as possible because she is part of the at-risk group.

“The idea of dropping someone at the hospital to possible die alone, is not something I never wanna do,” Groves said.

If the number of cases goes down, Nixa schools said it will reconsider masking being required. The district will provide basic cloth masks for all employees and students in August if needed. It will also provide disposable masks available for visitors.

The school district released this statement to KY3 News:

PROCEDURE ON WEARING MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS

The district is mindful of the evolving need for emergency measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In consideration of the recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Missouri Department of Health, and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the District is adopting this emergency procedure for all students, employees, and visitors of Nixa Public Schools pursuant to the Board’s Resolution in Response to COVID-19 Health Emergency.

STUDENTS

Until further action of the District, all students in kindergarten through the 12th grade shall be required to wear a mask or face covering (a) while attending school or a school function in any school building, facility, or other area of a school campus, and (b) when riding in school-provided transportation. All masks and face coverings must cover the nose and mouth of the student. This procedure applies to students waiting outside school buildings before and after school and to students waiting at bus stops. Students shall wear masks and face coverings at all times except for the following:

  • Students may remove masks and face coverings for eating or drinking;
  • Students may remove masks and face coverings when appropriate social distancing measures are in place as determined by a school administrator;
  • Students may be exempted from this procedure by the school principal due to a documented medical condition of the student;
  • Students may remove masks and face coverings on a case-by-case basis for specific instructional needs and other activities, as determined by a school administrator, in which case the school administrator will utilize appropriate social distancing measures; or
  • Students may be exempted from this procedure due to special behavioral or individualized needs as determined by the Executive Director of Special Services.

Students who refuse to wear a mask or face covering at school or at a school function under this procedure shall be required to leave the school campus consistent with Board Policy JFCA on student dress. Students who refuse to wear a mask or face covering on a school bus or district transportation shall be subject to discipline under Board Policy JFCC on student conduct while on school transportation.

EMPLOYEES

Until further action of the District, all employees of Nixa Public Schools and any employees of contracted services shall be required to wear a mask or face covering while working or attending a school function in any school building, facility, or other area of a school campus. All masks and face coverings must cover the nose and mouth of the employee. Employees shall wear masks and face coverings at all times except for the following:

  • Employees may remove masks and face coverings for eating and drinking;
  • Employees may remove masks and face coverings when appropriate social distancing measures are in place;
  • Employees may be exempted from this procedure by the school principal or the Superintendent of Schools due to a documented medical condition of the employee; or
  • Employees may remove masks and face coverings on a case-by-case basis for specific instructional needs and other activities, as determined by a school administrator, in which case the school administrator will utilize appropriate social distancing measures.

Employees who refuse to wear a mask or face covering at school or at a school function under this procedure shall be subject to discipline, including termination, under Board Policy GBCB.

VISITORS

Until further action of the District, all visitors to Nixa Public Schools shall be required to wear a mask or face covering while present in any school building, facility, or other area of a school campus.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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