‘meaningful amount of COVID in the community’; Francis Howell school …

ST. LOUIS~Just days after returning to class from the winter recess under a disguise-optional policy, the Francis Howell School District’s Board of Education voted unanimous 7-0 vote Friday in an emergency session to reinstate the disguise requirement starting Monday January 10.

School districts across the area have scaled back masking requirements and other COVID mitigation following a Cole County estimate’s ruling on such mandates and pressure from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

Francis Howell went disguise optional prior to the winter break.

In going by the district’s COVID statistics, Superintendent Dr. Nathan Hoven told board members “there is a meaningful amount of COVID in the community.”

 The district will temporarily require masks by January 21, with a chance to review where things stand at a regularly scheduled meeting January 20.

This week, hospital leaders in the vicinity have been sounding the alarm daily on how the variant has had a crushing impact on the vicinity, with the St. Louis Pandemic Task Force reporting a record number of hospitalized children ages 0-18 on Friday with 74 patients.

In addition to reinstating the disguise mandate, the district is also limiting visitors to schools without barring them outright and postponing events that would bring large groups of people to school. Masks will be “highly promoted” but not required for after-school events, including sporting events.

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