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Missouri school district reinstates mask mandates after students get sick

A southwest Missouri school district that dropped its mask mandate earlier this month has decided to reinstate it after several students became infected with COVID-19, leading to dozens of quarantines.

The 1,700-student Reeds Spring district had gone weeks without a positive case when it decided to make masks optional beginning April 22. Several other districts in the Springfield-area also have ditched mask orders in recent weeks, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

“It’s getting harder and harder to even get kids to keep those masks on as they are seeing people, adults and everyone in the community, not wearing masks,” Superintendent Cody Hirschi said in a video at the time.

The change didn’t last long, though, before the district decided to reinstate the mandate starting Friday.

“The cases of quarantine are really our biggest concern,” said District spokesman Ben Fisher, noting that six positive cases led to 95 quarantines in several buildings. “We really think it is essential for kids to be able to participate in end-of-year activities so we decided this was the best option to keep kids in school.”

Statewide, the percentage of Missouri residents receiving at least one shot of coronavirus vaccine barely budged Friday, remaining a little above 37% of the state population, KMIZ-TV reports.

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