n a split vote, the Platte County R-3 School Board has implemented a mask mandate indoors for students, staff and visitors in school buildings.
Anyone age three years old or older is mandated to wear face coverings while inside district buildings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Those board members voting in favor of the mandate were Sharon Sherwood, Alisha Elliott and Karen Bryant. Those opposed were board president Buffy Smith and member Doug Doll. Not present for the vote were members Gary Brown and Bobby Vann.
The policy will be reviewed in the future as needed.
“The required use of face coverings as a mitigation strategy will continue to be reviewed and considered based on school and community transmission rates, as well as staff and student isolations and quarantines,” the approved policy states.
Masks will be required, of course, in R-3 buildings within the Kansas City, Missouri, city limits due to the Kansas City mask order. Pathfinder Elementary and Barry School are the two Platte County R-3 school buildings that fall within the city limits of Kansas City.
As of July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends face coverings be worn indoors by all individuals within schools, regardless of vaccination status.
As of Aug. 5, the Platte County Health Department released recommendations stating, “residents and visitors of Platte County are strongly encouraged to follow CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People and any revisions thereof.”
The Platte County R-3 School District Board of Education has determined the school district will operate under the following guidance in regards to face coverings in schools:
“At this time, face coverings will be required for all students, staff, and visitors aged three and older while indoors at Platte County School District buildings when physical distancing cannot be maintained. The board will be reviewing this strategy as needed. In general, people do not need to wear face coverings when outside.”
The R-3 policy states “the required use of face coverings as a mitigation strategy will continue to be reviewed and considered based on school and community transmission rates, as well as staff and student isolations and quarantines.”
Face coverings will continue to be required for all individuals on a school bus, per federal order.
R-3 officials said “self-screening will continue to be emphasized and expected for all staff, students, and visitors before entering any school facility (stay home when signs of any infectious illness are present and refer to healthcare provider for testing and care). Staff, students, and visitors will be asked to conduct a daily wellness check.
The R-3 policy states schools will limit nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations. Essential visitors will be allowed on campus, following standard visiting rules. Currently, due to social distancing challenges, parents wishing to eat lunch with their students are not permitted at this time.
Examples of essential visitor functions include:
Student check-in and check-out
Student/staff internships and academic experiences, including class presentations
Student mentorships (Pirate Pals, A+, etc.)
Approved parent volunteers
Capacity restrictions at events will be finalized after more information is obtained from DESE, MSHSAA, the Suburban Conference, and the Platte County Health Department. Currently, there are no capacity restrictions, but capacity may be reduced to allow for physical distancing, based on community transmission rates.