COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Columbia Public Schools will return to the classroom Tuesday from winter break after the school district announced masks will no longer be required.
The Columbia Board of Education voted on Dec. 13 to no longer require students and staff to wear face masks. In an email sent late last month to families, the school district still encouraged the use of masks.
Additionally, CPS updated its COVID-19 plan, which includes possible temporary masking at the classroom, building, or district levels to stop the spread of COVID-19 if needed.
However, a petition that requests the Columbia Board of Education to hold an emergency session to vote on mask mandates and COVID-19 policy is gaining attention before the first day back to school.
At 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, the petition had 1,711 signatures.
Columbia Public Schools also changed its contact tracing and quarantine protocols.
Those who test positive or are symptomatic will need to stay home. Anyone can return to work or school if they have no symptoms or if their symptoms improve and are ever-free without medication after five days.
If someone is exposed to COVID-19, the school district said that person must wear a well-fitted mask at all times around others for 10 days, eat lunch at separate tables at least six feet away from peers and coworkers during that time, and get a PCR or rapid antigen test on day 5.
The school district also said it continues to encourage all those who are eligible to get vaccinated and will continue with its school-based COVID-19 vaccination clinics.