Re: Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s Letter to Missouri Public Schools
Yesterday, all superintendents in the state of Missouri received a letter from Attorney General Eric Schmitt regarding the Order from Cole County that was entered November 22, 2021. The letter states, “Under this judgment, all mask mandates, quarantine orders, and other public health orders that are based on any of the invalidated regulations or issued outside the protections of the Missouri Administrative Procedure Act are null and void.” The letter also states, “In addition, state law does not delegate authority to school officials to issue mask mandates, quarantine orders, or other public health orders.” With respect to excluding students from school, public schools have the authority to exclude students who have a communicable disease or who are liable to transmit a disease after exposure, pursuant to 167.191 RSMo.
What does this mean for Licking R-VIII School District?
The district will no longer exclude students simply because they are “close contacts” to positive cases of COVID-19. School districts already had and still have the direct statutory authority to exclude students who have a communicable disease, so students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be excluded from the school community until the end date of the contagious period as determined by a medical provider. Students may be excluded from school according to the district’s symptom checklist which includes fever of 100.4, chills, body aches, persistent cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, sore throat, and/or headache. Parents are encouraged to monitor students for symptoms, consult a family doctor in the case of illness, and keep sick children at home. Students should be fever free for at least 24 hours before returning to school.
The district will no longer offer the Opt In masking program. Students are allowed to wear masks, but students will not be placed in strategic seating arrangements since close contact quarantining will no longer affect students’ attendance.
If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of the Superintendent at (573) 674-2911.
Superintendent, Licking R-VIII School District