Masks may be optional in Tongie schools

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Masks may be optional in the Tonganoxie public schools as students begin the new school year.

The Leavenworth, Lansing, Easton, Basehor-Linwood and Fort Leavenworth districts have implemented mask requirements. But Tonganoxie Superintendent Loren Feldkamp said in a message posted on Facebook that the Tonganoxie school board approved updated gating criteria last week that will allow masks to be optional under certain conditions.

The gating criteria includes factors such as the number of new COVID-19 cases in the county during a two-week period, the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests in the county, and student and staff absences resulting from COVID-19.

Feldkamp said a decision regarding whether masks will be optional or mandatory will be made each week based on the criteria. As of last week, the Tonganoxie school district was in the green category of the criteria, which meant masks were optional. Feldkamp said an update will be announced today based on new data.

Regardless of the status of a mask requirement for inside school buildings, masks will be required on buses, according to Feldkamp.

Classes for the new school year are scheduled to begin Thursday in the Tonganoxie public schools.

While members of the Easton Board of Education have approved a mask requirement for the new school year, they plan to have a special meeting next week to receive public comment about the district's COVID-19 mitigation protocols, according to information posted on that school district's website.

The Easton school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Pleasant Ridge High School, 32500 Easton Road.