The Cape Girardeau School District Board Votes to Keep Mask Mandate in Place


With a 6-1 vote Monday night, the Cape Girardeau School District board voted to maintain the district’s current masking and quarantine procedures. The decision was met with vocal disagreement from a crowd packed into the district’s typically barren board room. Parents scheduled to speak (and many that were not) voiced their concerns about the district’s current COVID procedures. The district currently follows the guidance of the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, officials say. The district could face legal ramifications if they go against goes against the county health department’s recommendations, officials say. They also say they expect to receive updated guidance within a week or two from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.  Officials said the district’s procedures may soon change pending conversations with the county’s health department. The Cape Girardeau School District started the year without a mask mandate. The board instated one on  August  31 after attendance dipped at several of its schools. Officials said the board voted for the mask mandate to keep quarantines down. In the first few days of school, more than 100 students were sent home to quarantine each day. Currently, officials say the district’s quarantine count is approximately 10% of what it was at the beginning of the school year, with fewer than 100 total students in quarantine. According to the district’s latest update to its COVID-19 dashboard, there are fourteen virus cases, out of which eleven are students and three are staff. Some parents at Monday night’s board meeting and board members called for a mask and monitor program that would let healthy students and staff who are not sick to attend school without wearing a mask. Under the proposal, students and staff who were exposed and weren’t sick would have the option to either quarantine at home or attend school while masked with frequent temperature checks.

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