Schools are set to reopen soon and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has released guidance for schools to operate for a second year during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new guidance comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise throughout Missouri, despite the availability of COVID-19 vaccines for people at least 12 years old. This new guidance school districts should prioritize COVID-19 prevention strategies to keep students in-person and work with their local health departments for best practices. There are no statewide health mandates related to K-12 schools reopening and operating issued at this time, but it doesn’t Missouri schools requiring masks for students. However, it notes that policies regarding masks should be made at the discretion of the local boards of education. In addition, health officials health leaders cite the latest guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends masks be worn indoors by people older than two who are not fully vaccinated. The CDC also recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms and wearing masks on school buses.