Masks no longer required in SMSD unless schools have 5% COVID-related absences

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 9:27 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. (KCTV) - Following a 4-3 vote, masks are no longer required effective Tuesday at Shawnee Mission School District schools unless 5% of students at a school have COVID-related absences.

The Special Meeting started with two options on the table. One option had the 5% COVID absences threshold. The other removed all masking requirements. Shawnee Mission Board of Education At-Large Member Brad Stratton made a motion.

“My motion to amend would take it to 10% from 5%,” Stratton said.

Board of Education member Jamie Borgman seconded the motion. The motion to amend failed 2-5.

Another 4-3 vote passed Plan A that included a 5% COVID threshold. If an individual school exceeds the 5% COVID-related absences threshold, that building will temporarily return to the mask requirement and will need to drop below five percent 5% of COVID-related absences for one week before moving to optional masking.

One member explained why their vote.

“I really wanted there to still be something in place to provide mitigation so kids can stay in school. It is more loose than I’m comfortable with,” At-Large Member Heather Ousley said. “I would have preferred to retain the policy that we had, but I appreciate everyone’s discussion this evening and that there were board members who could support mitigating measures tonight.

Several community members who have opposed mask requirements since requirements began attended the meeting Monday.

“They want that mask mandate right there where they can jump back on it,” Debbie Detmer said. “I’m happy with the 5% because that’s up from 3%. Not that I’m happy with the 5% because there should be none. I am absolutely satisfied with no masking as of tomorrow.”

No schools in the Shawnee Mission School District currently meet the 5% threshold. No students in the SMSD will be required to wear masks, effective Tuesday.

The mitigation plan that was approved Monday will remain in place until the end of this school year.

Board of Education Votes for COVID Mitigation Plan A:

  • Mary Sinclair/Shawnee Mission East Area: Yes
  • Sara Goodburn/Shawnee Mission North Area: Yes
  • Jamie Borgman/Shawnee Mission Northwest Area: No
  • April Boyd-Noronha/Shawnee Mission West Area: Yes
  • Jessica Hembree/Shawnee Mission South Area: Yes
  • Heather Ousley/At-Large Member: No
  • Brad Stratton/At-Large Member: No