Johnson County Mandates Elementary School Masking

Kansas’ most populous county has imposed a mask mandate for students and staff in elementary schools in the hopes of keeping in check the more contagious COVID-19 delta variant.

The Johnson County Commission voted 5-2 for a mask requirement for schools from kindergarten through the sixth grade.

The commission faced criticism from health care providers who urged members to go further, and from parents and other residents who opposed a mask mandate.

In some districts, the included sixth graders aren’t in elementary schools, but middle schools.

In those cases, the Commission rule is that seventh and eighth graders in those schools would also have to mask, unless sixth graders are separated from them all day.

Critics questioned whether the commission – not the local school boards – can set policy for school districts.

Many of the 90-plus people who signed up to make public comments said parents should decide whether their children wear them, or questioned the effectiveness of masks.