Update on masks and COVID-19 protocols for 2021-22

Posted on 08/12/2021

August 12, 2021


Francis Howell School District successfully completed the 2020-21 school year without building closures or the need to return to remote learning thanks to the strong efforts of students and staff. Our ability to work together to achieve a common goal made the difference. Thank you.

When the school year ended and the pandemic showed signs of progress, we all hoped for a return to normal this fall. 

However, in recent weeks, the Delta variant has gained traction in parts of the state and now accounts for the vast majority of COVID cases in Missouri. Local health officials are reporting higher rates of cases among children – especially those too young to be vaccinated. 

We also understand from the county health department that contact-tracing and quarantine rules will continue to be in place for the 2021-22 school year, and currently the only way that students exposed to COVID-19 can avoid quarantine is to be fully vaccinated.

In light of the local impacts of COVID-19 in our area and in order to give all students the best chance at remaining in school, the District is temporarily revising its guidance on the use of face coverings, effective August 23, the first day of school. A summary of the changes is below. Additional COVID-19 protocols are available on the District website; this information will continue to be updated and expanded next week.

Beginning August 23, 2021:

  • Since our youngest learners are not yet eligible for vaccination, masks will be required for students in Pre-K through 6th grade while indoors, except while eating. 
  • Masks will be required for staff working with students in Pre-K through 6th grade when social distancing of 6 feet is not possible.

  • Masks will be required for all students on school buses, regardless of age or vaccination status. (This is the result of a federal order that mandates face coverings on public transit, which includes school buses. The order cannot be waived by state or local authorities.)

  • Masks are strongly encouraged for adults and students in 7th-12th grades when indoors.

  • Masks are optional for all students and staff while outdoors.
  • The District will re-evaluate this guidance no later than September 17, examining rates of positivity, quarantines and any potential school spread during the first four weeks of school. This information will be used to determine if the mask mandate for grades 6 and below should be extended or lifted. Likewise, if cases are high or there is evidence of school spread in 7th-12th grades, the District is prepared to institute a mask mandate for those ages at any time.

All FHSD community members are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and take other measures to stay healthy. Your continued support, cooperation and commitment to the well-being of yourself and others is critical to ensuring a successful start to the school year, and we appreciate your understanding.

For more information on the District’s return-to-school plan and COVID-19 protocols, visit https://www.fhsdschools.org/covid-19.

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