Coast school districts begin to drop mask mandates for students, staff
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Coast school districts are beginning to do away with their mask mandates.
Students who attend school in Ocean Springs School District will now be given the option of whether or not to wear a mask. This comes after the school board met Wednesday morning for a special meeting, marking a return to the way things were before the pandemic.
Citing the continued decline in both school district and local COVID-19 cases, OSSD said students will also be allowed to dine once more in the cafeteria and be allowed to rotate to different classes, both things that were restricted at some schools under the district’s COVID policy.
The rollback on COVID-19 restrictions goes into effect beginning Thursday, Sept. 30.
OSSD has monitored school district and community data throughout the school year and has worked with local health officials to determine the necessary steps to ensure a safe and productive learning environment for all students and staff members. Masks will be optional, except for those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
“OSSD’s primary focus regarding monitoring community COVID-19 was Mississippi hospitalizations and ICU usage due to COVID-19. As was decided at the August board meeting on August 10th, 2021, OSSD would no longer require masks once COVID-19 hospitalizations in Mississippi fell below 925 for seven consecutive days. This threshold was met on September 24th, 2021, and data can be found here,” stated a release from OSSD sent Wednesday afternoon.
Later on Wednesday, the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi announced that beginning Oct. 4, students and staff will not be required to wear masks to school either. The diocese said they will continue to monitor data and make adjustments to the protocol as necessary.
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