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Ark City, Mulvane school boards approve mask mandates

The Ark City Public Schools Board of Education gathers for a meeting on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.
The Ark City Public Schools Board of Education gathers for a meeting on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.(KWCH 12)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 7:55 PM CDT
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ARK CITY, Kan. (KWCH) - The school boards in Ark City and Mulvane on Monday night voted in favor of mask mandates for all of their buildings, starting Wednesday, Sept. 1. While acknowledging challenges with masks, the Ark City school board discussed how dozens of students are having to quarantine with COVID-19 cases climbing.

With the objective to keep kids in the classroom, the board made its decision while looking ahead to developing a more detailed plan regarding testing and determining the length of time necessary for a mask mandate to be in effect. The board said it plans to work up a detailed plan for discussion and consideration at its next regular meeting on Sept. 13.

The Mulvane school board voted to require masks inside schools, but not outside. The board said it plans to reassess the requirement at its Sept. 27 meeting. The board said masks will be recommended for outdoor activities, but not required, including recess.

Near Ark City in the Winfield school district, there is a modified mask mandate in place where masks are no longer required in classrooms, but will be still be required in high-density and high-traffic areas, such as commons areas, large group gatherings, indoor assemblies and concerts, according to Superintendent Dr. Nathan Reed.

Reed said, per federal mandate, masks will also remain a requirement for those who ride or drive school buses or other public transportation provided by the district.

The Andover school board will consider a mask mandate during a special meeting Tuesday night, Aug. 31. The district’s superintendent said the mask mandate is necessary as the district reports rising positive cases and quarantines. If passed, the mandate for Andover’s schools would take effect Friday, Sept. 3 and last until Oct. 12.

The Wellington school district canceled classes until next Tuesday, Sept. 7 after the Sumner County Health Department identified three of the district’s six buildings as COVID-19 outbreak schools. The board scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday night to discuss the district’s safety plans.

A mask mandate for the Wichita school district started Monday.

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