At an emergency meeting on February 17, the Jackson County Board of Education voted unanimously to end the current mask mandate and make face coverings OPTIONAL effective Monday, February 21. The decision was based on the district’s rapidly improving COVID data as well as revised state guidelines that no longer require asymptomatic individuals to quarantine.
It is important to note that the change will not apply to school buses due to federal legislation that requires the use of face coverings while riding in those vehicles. Furthermore, the district will continue to encourage but not require the use of masks in confined areas or by anyone who chooses to wear a face covering.
Superintendent Dr. Dana Ayers credited a districtwide commitment to safety along with the tireless efforts of staff and the support of JCPS families for the district’s success in navigating the COVID pandemic.
“I applaud our staff and Board of Education who have been the constant when things were unsure,” Ayers said. “Equally as important, I praise our families and community for wanting what is best for kids and supporting the difficult decisions we have had to make. The mask mandate has been one of those difficult decisions.”
Ayers understands that COVID-19 and its variants will continue to be a challenge in the future, but she stressed the district’s reliance on data in the decision-making process.
“Over the last two pandemic years, JCPS focused on keeping students in school safely,” Ayers said. “All along, we used data and quarantine rules to guide decisions regarding the mask mandate. I am so pleased that our COVID data has shown such drastic improvement and allowed us to conclude the mask mandate.”