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SPS requires masking through July 30
In response to the continued community spread of COVID-19, Springfield Public Schools will require students and staff to wear masks during the July session of Explore. The decision was made in consultation with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department after evaluating a variety of community health factors.
At this time, the masking requirement will be in effect July 7-30. Masks will be provided for SPS students who do not have one. A decision about whether masking will be required beyond July 30 will be made closer to the first day of the 2021-2022 school year.
"In our ongoing evaluation of pandemic-related data, and in anticipation of a continued surge related to holiday gatherings over the July 4 holiday, we recommended that SPS implement these additional steps through the end of July," said Katie Towns, interim director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. "We appreciate our partnership with SPS and their willingness to adapt their protocols to best serve the public as positive cases, hospitalizations and related deaths continue to increase. It is our hope that the public will take this opportunity to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from preventable illness."
A number of factors influenced the decision to return to mandatory masking in SPS buildings:
- An increase in COVID-19 positive cases among SPS students and staff throughout Explore Session 1 in June.
- A current surge in COVID-19 positive cases in the community and region, many related to the Delta variant.
- A current surge in local hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19.
- An anticipated surge later this week from July 4 holiday celebrations.
- Ongoing low vaccination rates for Greene County – currently at 38.97 percent.
Staff and students are reminded to maintain social distancing, whenever possible, and to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If any symptoms are noted, staff and students should not report to school and should seek guidance from a healthcare provider.
"SPS will continue to evaluate data, in close collaboration with the health department, to determine any need for adjustments to this protocol after July 30. More information about masking and other health and safety guidance will be provided at that time," said Dr. Grenita Lathan, Springfield Public Schools superintendent. "We thank the public for understanding our need to adapt protocols, as the pandemic continues to impact our community, in order to help ensure the health and safety of all those we serve. It is our hope that immediate, proactive efforts will positively impact our community."