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Columbia Board of Education votes to remove COVID mask policy

Watch the Columbia Board of Education replay in the player below.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Columbia Public Schools Board of Education voted to remove the COVID mask policy. The mask policy will end on Jan. 4 when classes resume after winter break.

The board heard public comments from parents and students.

Several board members including Superintendent Brian Yearwood requested to remove the mask mandates.

From what we heard during public comment parents were in agreement and very sick of the mandates.

Several parents approached the board citing a recent letter from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sent to school districts and health departments across the state.

The letter said there will be "enforcement action", meaning any agency that continues to enforce mask mandates, quarantine orders or public health orders could face legal action.

Parents and even students addressed the board saying it is the law and enough is enough with the masks, others say the masks should be optional.

Superintendent Yearwood requested to remove the current mask requirements and revise the current mitigation policies based on children five and up being able to get vaccinated. However, the request does not change masking on busses.

The board discussed waiting until February 14 to remove the mask mandate, two weeks after the schools' January 28 vaccine clinic where more students will have the ability to be fully vaccinated.

CPS COVID-19 Return Plan Policy

CPS's previous COVID-19 Return Plan Policy requires students and staff to wear masks while indoors. Masks are also required while on school buses, according to the current CDC health order.

The school district doesn't require masks while students and staff are outside.

Pre-K, kindergarten, and elementary school students are required to stay in small groups during class to help reduce exposure to the virus.

CPS also requires quarantines and exposures for its attendees depending on the level of exposure/diagnosis of a COVID-19 case.

State AG's Letter

Last Tuesday, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sent a letter to school districts and health agencies citing a recent Cole County court ruling in the case of Robinson v. Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services.

The ruling states the health regulations requiring masks along with health orders violate the equal protection clause of the state's constitution because of varying rules from county to county.

“Under this judgment, all mask mandates, quarantine orders, and other public health orders that are based on any of the invalidated regulations or issued outside the protections of the Missouri Administrative Procedure Act are null and void," said Schmitt in the letter.

The State AG's office states any school district that chooses to go against the recent ruling and continues to require the heath requirements may have action taken against them.

Schmitt's office says it will enforce the order across Missouri.

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Meghan Drakas

Meghan joined ABC 17 News in January 2021.
The Penn State grad is from the Philadelphia suburbs where she interned with several local TV stations.

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Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. About time. Thank you to all the parents and students who stood up for their rights against the useless mask mandate.

    So many studies are coming out that masks don’t work and natural immunity is better than the vaccine. Even hospitals are dropping the vaccine mandate.

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