Tongie schools now require masks

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

After initially allowing masks to be optional this school year, the Tonganoxie public schools are now requiring teachers and students to wear face coverings.

"With our students and staff safety in mind I feel it extremely necessary to pivot away from my mask optional recommendation I made at our last Board of Education meeting," Superintendent Loren Feldkamp said in a statement that was posted Sunday on the school district's website.

Classes for the new school year began Thursday in Tonganoxie. Monday marked the first day all students, staff and visitors were required to wear masks while indoors at the district's schools.

"My recommendation is based on increasing COVID-19 related Tonganoxie students in quarantine, Leavenworth County Health Department and CDC recommendations," Feldkamp said in the statement.

In announcing the change in mask policy, Feldkamp stated the district was experiencing a sudden rise among students in positive COVID-19 cases as well as others impacted because of close contact tracing.

"Having a large number of students and staff quarantined is not an option for me as the USD 464 Superintendent," he said in the statement.

Feldkamp said school officials will review COVID-19 statistics with members of the Tonganoxie Board of Education on a monthly basis.