Masks to become optional at PRHS

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Beginning Dec. 8, masks will no longer be required for students and staff members at Pleasant Ridge High School. And masks will become optional Jan. 4 at Pleasant Ridge Middle School and Pleasant Ridge Elementary School.

Superintendent Tim Beying said the change was approved Nov. 10 by the Easton Board of Education.

He said waiting until January to change the mask requirement for the middle and elementary schools will give parents time to have their children fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they choose to do so.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration only recently authorized the emergency use of a Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Authorization previously was approved for children who are 12 and older.

Beying said masks will become optional at the high school next month because older students have had the ability to be vaccinated for a longer period of time.

He said the mask optional policy will apply to students, staff members and visitors to the schools.

Beying said there are preschool students at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School who are too young to take the Pfizer vaccine. But he believes the mask optional policy will still apply to them once it is in place at the elementary school.

A mask requirement could be reinstated in one of the school buildings if the school has a COVID-19 positivity rate of more than 4% of the building's student enrollment.

"That would be a trigger for us to go back to masks," Beying said.

He said the mask policy at the building would be reevaluated after two weeks.

The Basehor-Linwood Board of Education recently made masks optional at their district's high school. And there are plans to make masks optional at other schools in that district in January.

Members of the Leavenworth Board of Education will discuss their district's COVID-19 protocols for the second semester when they meet next month.

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