Carthage school district discusses plans for fall amid new CDC guidance

CARTHAGE, Mo. –With vaccines readily available for anyone 12 and over, the CDC is relaxing its Covid-19 guidelines for vaccinated individuals.

Recently, the public health agency announced that fully vaccinated students and teachers can return to the classroom this fall, mask-free.

For those unvaccinated, it’s a different story.

“I think the CDC and local health departments recommend that the unvaccinated students and teachers continue to wear a mask,” said Tony Moehr with the Jasper County Health Department.

Local school districts like Carthage schools are using this new guidance to promote health in their community.

“We will promote vaccinations, we’ll tell our staff our students our parents, community members, if you are vaccinated you will not be quarantined, and that’s the bottom line,” said Mark Baker, Carthage School District Superintendent. 

As for how things will be different in the fall…

“They do not have to wear their mask if they’re vaccinated and they will not be quarantined if they are vaccinated,” said Baker.

For unvaccinated students, the district won’t require masks, but if students who are unvaccinated don’t wear a mask and come into contact with someone testing positive, they will be quarantined.

Should local case numbers increase, this plan could change.

“Now if something changes in our society, in our local area that all of a sudden another variant is spreading to where kids are positive, we might have to make some changes to our plan,” Baker said, “But really what matters most for us is what’s happening in our community.”

This is why the district plans to work closely with the health department to stay on top of cases.

“If we have quarantined people out in the county then we quarantine them and provide information to the schools about who we have under quarantine or isolation at a given time,” said Moehr.

It’s still a bit early to know exactly how different schools will operate by August, but Carthage schools say they plan on following the numbers.

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