Fort Zumwalt Ditches Mandatory Mask Guidelines for 2021-2022 School Year

Missy Crystal

Academic life returns to normal for many St. Charles County students this fall.

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Masks are optional for Fort Zumwalt students nowImage by Marcos Cola from Pixabay

As of June 21, 2021, masks are optional for Fort Zumwalt students attending in-person classes during the 2021-2022 school year. Thomas Emmons, a member of the Fort Zumwalt Board of Education, announced the news via Facebook.

Reactions were mixed. Many parents praised the district for removing mandatory mask guidelines, while others were concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19 among unvaccinated children. Multiple parents stated they will continue requiring their kids to wear masks during the school day until vaccination rates increase or their children become old enough to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

If you're not sure how you feel about masks being optional, keep in mind virtual learning is also an option for Fort Zumwalt students. However, it's worth noting that the district is no longer utilizing its own teachers for the virtual learning program. Instead, virtual students will receive academic instruction via the Springfield Public School District this fall.

Not all students are eligible for online learning via the Springfield Public School District for the 2021-2022 school year. The district has established numerous guidelines for potential students, including previous enrollment in a public or charter school. This guideline means that incoming kindergarteners are not eligible for virtual learning through the Springfield Public School District.

The Missouri Course Access Program (MOCAP) is another option for Fort Zumwalt students interested in virutal learning. Parents should contact the Fort Zumwalt district for help initiating the enrollment process.

If you decide to stick with in-person enrollment for your kids, keep in mind that Fort Zumwalt cannot override federal requirements for masks. Because of this, students must still wear masks on school buses until the government changes transportation-related masking guidelines.

At this time, it is unclear whether students who receive district-funded transportation via private providers must wear masks. To clarify, some students, including those with special needs, are transported via outside companies that have contracted with the Fort Zumwalt district. These students ride to and from school in vans or automobiles from private transportation companies rather than utilizing district buses.

When applicable, mandatory quarantines will continue during the 2021-2022 school year until health agencies recommend otherwise. Students who received a COVID-19 vaccine do not have to quarantine after exposure to an individual with COVID-19. As of June 2021, COVID-19 vaccinations are available for children age 12 and older in Missouri.

More information about plans for Fort Zumwalt's upcoming school year is available via the Overview on Return 2021 and Federal Stimulus Safe Return/Continuity of Services and ESSER III. The district welcomes feedback from parents as it continues preparing for the upcoming school year, which resumes on August 23, 2021.

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