JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Jefferson City School District returns to the classroom on Monday with COVID-19 protocols and precautions in place.
In the district's return plan for the school year, JC Schools outlined the importance of social distancing, hand-washing, staying home when sick, and the importance of wearing a mask and getting vaccinated.
Watch ABC 17 News livestream as Jefferson City schools start their first day of classes today.
Recently, the Jefferson City School District decided masks will be required for students and staff when social distancing isn't possible. Social distancing is defined as three feet apart by the district.
The district said the move is supported by the Cole County Health Department and aligns with other schools in Cole County. According to Superintendent Larry Linthacum, 16 of the district's 18 schools are located in Cole County.
"At the end of the day our decision to require masks indoors when they are not able to ensure the appropriate social distancing [is the] recommendation by our Cole County Health Department," Linthacum said.
Linthacum said since releasing the mask policy, the district has received a lot of feedback from parents both for and against the policy.
Student and staff dress codes will still apply to masks being worn in schools.
Masks will also be required on school buses per CDC guidance.
Positive Cases & Contact Tracing
If a student or staff member tests positive, a contact tracing investigation will be opened and close contacts of the positive case will be notified.
Students and staff who are close contacts will not be allowed to return to school until they have completed quarantine or met the school's return guidelines.
Linthacum said the district is not tracking vaccination, but whether a person is vaccinated or not could affect the steps taken after a person is exposed.
"If there's a positive case and as they determine the severity of that or the situation," Linthacum said. "If they can prove that they have been vaccinated it could impact where they remain in school. If they say they've been vaccinated, but they cannot prove it, we'll have to side on the air of caution."
The district will have three different category levels with different COVID-19 precautions varying by level. The levels of green, yellow and red will change precautions and protocols based on different COVID-19 case levels in the area.
JC School's re-entry plan states outdoor activities such as athletic games will continue to have no restrictions on masks or attendance. Depending on community spread of COVID-19, protocols for these events could be evaluated.
If there are changes in the community, the plan said enforcement of mask wearing and/or attendance limitations could be modified particularly for indoor activities.
The current guidelines for the district states masks are required indoors when social distancing is not possible.
District travel will be approved for student activities out of town, out of state, and overnight. Travel destinations
classified as a hotspot will be off limits for district events.
Activities directors and coaches plan to work with the JC Schools director of health services to determine the level of risk of a destination before traveling.
New roads for traffic flow
The Jefferson City School District announced new roads to improve traffic flow for Lawson Elementary and Thomas Jefferson Middle schools.
The roads open Monday to help with drop off and pick up for families.
All drivers doing morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups must enter and exit via Patriot Drive from Edgewood Drive, and bus traffic will only be allowed access from Fairgrounds Road.
With the exception of those accessing the Special Learning Center, the general public will not be allowed to use the roads during the morning drop-off from 7-9 a.m. and afternoon pick-up from 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Tune into ABC 17 News This Morning for live reports at 6 a.m.