Elementary students and staff in Shawnee Mission schools are required to wear masks this fall but masks are just “highly recommended” for secondary staff and students. But elementary school staff will be permitted to opt out of wearing masks this fall if they provide proof of their vaccination status. That is according David Smith, the district’s Chief Communications Officer.
The Sentinel asked the district for clarification when parents expressed concern about sections of the district’s inoculation policy that is part of the enrollment process.
Smith says this policy has been in place since 2014. He says COVID vaccinations are not required and the district will not require a COVID booster if recommended by KDHE.
He said the district is requiring masks on elementary students because they “generally do not have access to the vaccine.”
The COVID survival rate in Kansas for kids younger that 17 is 99.995% according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. But while the COVID risk for students is low, forcing kids to wear mask has very significant educational and emotional consequences. The district didn’t try to justify their mask ruling as being overall in students’ best interest.
Smith provided the following table to explain the district’s mask policy this fall.