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Southern Boone School District votes to suspend mask mandate


Southern Boone School District school board members voted 4-3 to suspend the district's mask mandate for some students.

With concern over the current case rate in the district, administrators held a board meeting discussing the re-entry plan.

The board voted vaccinated or not, students could return to school on day eight if receiving a negative test between days 5-7.

Board members discussed changing the close contact from six to three feet but voted on students having to quarantine if coming in six feet of someone COVID-19 positive for 15 minutes or more.

Parents can choose to keep their kids home for 10 days without a negative COVID-19 test.

Watch the Southern Boone Board of Education meeting replay in the player below.

Parents in the Ashland area have differing opinions on masks in school after the Southern Boone School District announced Thursday a temporary face mask requirement for its middle school.

The requirement was issued after more than 15% of students and staff at the middle school tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine, the district said.

Robyn Powers, a parent at Southern Boone Middle School, said if masks were originally mandated by the school then a quarantine so close to the start of a school year could have been avoided. Scores of students and staff have been quarantined or tested positive for the coronavirus since the school year started earlier this month.

"As a nurse practitioner, I don't understand the thought process that goes into not wanting to protect the kids in the school district," Powers said.

As of Wednesday morning, 81 middle school students and staff members had either tested positive or were in quarantine. More students were seen by ABC 17 crews Thursday afternoon leaving school early to go into quarantine.

Lindsey Herbige, a parent at Southern Boone Middle School, said she wished the school district would care more about her child's health and safety.

"They advertise that community mentality and then when it comes to actually being a community and protecting the people in our community. Then, (people say) 'it's not my job to make sure your kid doesn't get sick,'" Herbige said.

Brad Bartow said he isn't happy about the middle school requirement. He wants his kid to have a religious exemption but has problems with the district's forms to apply for one.

School district leaders plan to re-evaluate the temporary face mask policy on Oct. 6. The school district plans to lift the requirement on Oct. 6 if the number of cases and people in quarantine is under 78.

The Southern Boone School District's website shows a breakdown of the following at the middle school:

  • 66 students are in quarantine
  • 2 staff members are in quarantine
  • 13 student cases of COVID-19
  • No staff cases of COVID-19

Southern Boone School Board of Education members approved the 15% policy in August as part of the school district's Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Service Plan.

Families of some students protested Friday a similar face mask requirement issued for Southern Boone Elementary School.

School district leaders plan to re-evaluate that policy on Sept. 30.

The Southern Boone Board of Education also plans to hold a special meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Board members are expected to talk about the school district's re-entry plans, masking exemption protocol and mask mandates.

The school board will also talk about an incident that happened Friday. A school district spokesperson confirmed this is the "demonstration" that occurred outside the elementary school.

Author Profile Photo

Zachary Farwell

Zachary Farwell is the senior producer at ABC 17 News.

Author Profile Photo

Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.

Kennedy Miller


1 Comment

  1. It’s pointless. Fauci himself has stated that children are not a significant transmission vector (because few ever get sick enough to spread it). Very few adults wear their masks properly. Expecting children to do so is delusional.

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